Beyond - Legends Journal of Mark Tantiss: (2012 Diary Challenge: AU, OC, L/M) COMPLETE with fanart

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    The bonus 'shine for this chapter is up on my LJ.

    You must be over 18 to view because I have set the explicit adult content setting. I will not be PMing the chapter. Thanks and enjoy!!
  2. RedGold

    RedGold Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 29, 2004
    Kira's a smart gal. ;) Good to know Mark's in good hands.

    And dang ginchy! Hot! Should never go to your LJ before bed time, how am I to sleep now?!
  3. Hazel

    Hazel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 9, 2010
    I have no words to express how sweet this was, so...

    :D [face_love] :* [:D] [face_dancing] @};-
  4. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Bahahaha! Lucky for me when I went to sleep after reading the shine I had my own redheaded soldier in bed with me. ;)

    THANK YOU GINCHY!!!=D= [face_love] [:D] AWESOME SHINE!
  5. Mondra

    Mondra Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 12, 2010
    Let it shine on me now! Hehehe...
    Donna, that was fantabulous! Kira worrying that he was breaking up with her - "it's not you, honey, it's the Dark Side..." :D
  6. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    That was adorable - both the diary and the shine! :)
  7. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    I want to thank ginchy for that fantastic shine to this story!! I know it probably was tough writing a love scene involving two original characters...but she pulled it off wonderfully! And thanks everybody for reading! I know OC stories usually are not popular, so I am thrilled to have some loyal readers. Thank you! [:D]



    Entry 43: Courscant

    Luke and Mara contacted me early the next morning...way too early if you ask me. They?re on planet and want my input on the location of the new Jedi Academy. I said I?d come over to see them and signed off. I roll over and nuzzle up to the beautiful woman lying next to me. "Kira, that was Luke, he wants me to meet him."

    She turned and looked at the chrono on the side table and groaned. "It's 0800 in the morning? What's so important?"

    "It about Jedi training,? I cringed a little, that was another little omission I failed to mention last night. "Kira, I know you told your parents I'm a Jedi Knight, but that's not exactly true. Luke and Mara have given me some basic training in the Force...but that's it."

    She turned and looked at me with half-opened eyes. "I think that anybody who can help kill a Sith Lord, take down the citadel and then assist in the destruction of an entire Imperial planet should be put on the fast track to knighthood. You tell Luke I said that."

    I chuckled and then start making a line of kisses down her neck. She moans and then pushes me away playfully. "Mark, you wore me out. I don?t have the Force to draw on to keep me going all night?like you obviously do. Go see Luke and give me some time to recuperate." She rose up on one elbow and gives me a sultry smile. "I'll have a special treat for you when return."

    "I can't imagine anything more special then last night," I said. I know I am probably grinning like a lovesick pup...I can?t help it?I?m totally in love.

    "That was special," she conceded, ?and I don?t think I?ll be able to top last night, but I?ll do my best." She settles back down to the pillow and smiled, but after a few seconds her eyes flutter closed into an exhausted sleep.

    I get dressed and then kiss her. "I'm leaving you a comlink to get a hold of me," I set the device on the side table. I tell her I love her and that I?ll be back shortly. She mumbles something and goes back to sleep. I don?t blame her?we didn?t get much rest last night.

    I show up to the coordinates given to me by Skywalker. I didn?t see anything special about the location, just blown out buildings and rubble. When Mara saw me she smiled widely and laughed.

    ?Luke, our little boy is all grown up.?

    Luke gives her a confused look. Mara simply says, ?Kira.? Luke mouths ?Oh? and then turns to me with a smirk.

    I am really surprised. I have to shield around Luke, so I know Mara didn?t pick up anything from me through the Force. ?How did you know??

    ?That beard doesn?t hide that stupid grin.? Mara said. ?It?s the same look Skywalker had the morning after we first got together.?

    ?There?s no way I looked that goofy.? Luke protested.

    ?It was worse,? Mara insisted, ?you didn?t have a beard to hide behind.? Mara turned back to me and leered. ?Is it my turn to harass you?? She then starts humming some of that holoporn music that I used to tease her with when she started dating Luke.

    ?Okay, Mara, I?m sorry,? I apologize. ?I shouldn't have made rude sexually suggestive remarks about you and Luke.?

    I guess Mara never told Skywalker any of the things I used to say to her because he gives me a puzzled look. He turns to Mara. ?What did he say??

    She rolled her eyes and tells him. ?He accused me of molesting you when I had you captive and unconscious on Myrkr.?

    Luke?s eyes went wide. ?Did you??

    She glares at him and playfully smacks him on the shoulder. ?No!?

    Luke laughs and then winked at me. Sometimes he likes getting a reaction out of Mara the same as I do.

    ?Okay, enough already.? I groaned. ?Tell me what you need. I want to
  8. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    I'm glad Mark steered them away from Yavin IV. Don't need any dead Sith to crash the party. LOL And I love Mark and Kira's morning banter. [face_love] But it was too priceless when Luke imitaed Mark being whupped. [face_laugh] [face_laugh] Oh and Kira's comm call. [face_laugh] [face_laugh]
  9. Book-Geek

    Book-Geek Jedi Knight star 3

    May 28, 2011
    Luke and Mara are never, ever going to give Mark peace, are they?[face_laugh]

    Mara and Luke gave me a strange look. ?Where did you hear that Yavin IV was once a Sith stronghold?? Luke asked.

    I hesitated. How did I know that?

    Poor Mark; that's gotta be freaky. *shiver*
  10. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    Does Luke have a whip noise app for his iPhone? (See last week's Big Bang Theory for reference.)
  11. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 18, 1999
    Aww, Mark and Kira are very cute together! And I loved the teasing (turnabout is fair play)! :)
  12. RedGold

    RedGold Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 29, 2004
    LoL, one big happy family here.

    But do I detect a hiccup to happiness in there?
  13. Hazel

    Hazel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 9, 2010
    [face_laugh] It's payback time!

    And I'm glad they're not going to Yavin. ;)
  14. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Hehehe, I love the teasing!
  15. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Ginchy: Mark is entirely whipped! Much more so than Luke could ever be. I think because Kira is Mark's first love and only woman he has been with he is totally smitten. Luke is a little more mature than Mark. Mark is like a teenager in love. If you remember your first teenage crush, you probably think "Damn why was I so crazy back then?" Teenagers have their hormones boiling over and their puppy love becomes an overwhelming emotion that is almost terrifying in its intensity because it is all so new. I think that will be what Mark is feeling for quite a while.

    Book-Geek: Mark is going to get payback from Mara big time. Maybe not Luke so much because Mara suffered the brunt of Mark's teasing.

    JediMara77: I watched the Big Bang theory for the first time this week. It was the episode where the guys go to the arctic. It was fairly funny. I am sure if I knew the characters better it would be much more enjoyable. I bet those guys celebrate Pi day like my geeky physicist at home.

    Taramidala: Yeah there is going to be teasing. Poor Mark.

    RedGold: I wouldn't say a hiccup. The next few posts are sad, but then it gets better. I don't know if I am going to have the totally angst-ridden ending that I planned. I think it was ginchy I told my plot ending to and she was not happy. I don't know how far I am going with this diary. It is March and I am still in Dark Empire territory. I wanted to get past the StN epilogue and deal with the death of a main character, but I may not do that. I was thinking that the death I had planned might be better suited for a sequel to StN so I don't have to write the story in a first person perspective...which is difficult. But right now I plan mostly happy stuff...until I kill somebody and another person turns to the darkside. LOL!

    Hazel: Yavin is boring. There is so much more you can do on Coruscant. The profic writers should have put the temple on Coruscant. The reason we have dead Sith Lords causing trouble was there was nothing else to do on that Jungle Moon. You could have all types of adventures on Coruscant. That is probably why the YJK books always had the kids going to other planets. YAVIN was boring. The most excitement there is when Jacen's crystal snake escapes. Ohhhhh scary kids! Meh!

    Briannakin: If you like teasing, then you will love some of the later posts. Mara is paying back Mark ten fold.

    Ack! What am I going to do when the boards are down? This is really going to suck. I hope you guys continue to post your stories over at FFN. I need my fanfic fix in the morning!

    :D [:D]
  16. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Well it seems that there are some glitches in the system. Some of my previous entries cut off after a certain amount of characters. So in some instances only half of the post is seen. Also a lot of my quotation marks have turned into question marks. I am hoping this will eventually be fixed.
    Entry: 44. Coruscant
    Kira was happy to learn the Jedi Academy was going to be built on Coruscant, mainly because it meant I would become a semi-permanent resident of the planet and could see her on a regular basis. I later discovered the New Republic is footing the bill for construction. Luke and Leia convinced the NR leadership that the galaxy would not be safe from dark side forces until the Jedi were reestablished as protectors of the galaxy.
    From what Luke tells me the Academy would be built on a grand scale with hundreds of rooms, training facilities and massive security measures. Luke said temple defense would be the upmost of importance. The bad guys had already attempted to kidnap Leia and Han's children and nobody wanted a repeat performance.
    When Luke wasn't teaching me and Mara the ways of the Force, he's was researching the Jedi holocron—the one I discovered at the Citadel. Luke said he found clues through the device that led him to believe some of the Jedi Knights survived the Purge.
    He's going to start his search in the Cron Drift. He said the Holocron gatekeeper told him to look in a space city called Nespis VIII. I can never remember the Holocron gatekeeper's name. I call him Baggaballs—but I don't think that's right because the gatekeeper now refuses to talk to me anymore.
    Anyway…Luke will have to go to the Cron Drift alone on this mission. The Wild Karrde crew was hired to search the area surrounding Byss to salvage Imperial technology. I'll probably be gone for a few weeks. I'd rather not go. I don't want to be away from my beautiful lady, but I can't leave Talon in a lurch. He needs Mara and me until replacements can be found.
    Kira came over the night before and we watched holos and talked. She worries about me going back to Byss. She knows what happened on that planet—how Palpatine tried to take over my body.
    "What if he is still out there Mark? Just floating around waiting to find another body to occupy?"
    I can see the fear in her eyes. She spent months on Byss working in the Citadel. She knows how dangerous and vile the Emperor was…and the thought that he could take over my body and overshadow my soul is not something she wants to contemplate. It's not something I would like to think about either. I probably know more about Palpatine than any other living person. His memories still surface in my mind—like flotsam floating up from a shipwreck. He was pure evil personified. There was no good in him. The best that he could manage was indifference, and often indifference is worse than evil; it is a paralysis of the soul.
    Kriff'n Palpatine.
    We were sitting on my couch as she wrapped her arms around my waist and buried her head against my chest. I ran my hand over her hair as I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead.
    "It will be fine. I fought him off once before." I tried to reassure her.
    She looked at me skeptically. "I thought you said your pet ysalamiri forced him away?'
    "Yeah…" I admit sheepishly. "I guess Nibbles is the real hero of Byss." I gave Kira a comforting smile. "Nibbles and her companions are still on the Wild Karrde. We'll have them if we need them."
    She gives me another squeeze. "Good because the thought of Palpatine forcing himself inside your body is a horrifying thought." I felt her shudder in revulsion.
    "Ummm…the way you worded that is horrifying in itself." I chuckle. "Why don't we use the term 'possess'." I smiled at her. "Palpatine possessed my body sounds so much better than Palpatine was inside of me."
    Despite her worries she also laughed. "Okay, but you better be careful."
    I give her a soft and lingering kiss. "I will. I have you to return to…and nothing will keep me from you-not Sith Lords, Imperial Sentinels, or darkside adepts. Nothing...that I promise."

  17. Hazel

    Hazel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 9, 2010
    And we're back!!! :D
    I really love this diary.

    BTW Jedi_Lover - how did you change the header? Did you ask a mod?
  18. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Entry: 45. Deep Core, Beshqek System, prior location of planet Byss

    Today was interesting…and by interesting I mean horrific and stomach-churning. The Wild Karrde crew spent an entire work-cycle skirting around the rubble that once was the planet Byss. There was a lot of debris and wreckage floating around making flying hazardous, but luckily Chin is one of the best pilots in the business and was able to avoid getting us killed. Most of the debris is totally unrecognizable, but every once in a while we would see an intact corpse float by—some were in vac-suits, but most were not.

    Contrary to what some people believe, a human body doesn't explode when subjected to vacuum, your eyes don't pop out of your skull, your blood doesn't boil and you don't become a block of ice in the coldness of space. As disgusting as those options are, what really happens is almost as bad. During the excruciatingly painful decompression to vacuum a human can survive for up to two minutes…although most people will become unconscious in a fraction of that time. But during those fifteen to thirty awful seconds of awareness you have plenty of time to confront your own mortality. Most of the dead had a ghastly look of terror frozen on their faces—their eyes wide and mouths open in a silent scream.

    Han once told me that the Corellian's believe there are nine levels to Hell. I think I flew through one of those levels while traveling around the perimeter of Byss…but the day was not over…I am fairly sure I saw all nine levels by the end of this mission.

    We moved out further from the planet's remnants and were stunned to discover the space cannon—the one that destroyed the planet—had survived. Talon thought it must have been either thrown clear by the explosion or its armor and shields were unusually strong. We tried to establish communication with the craft, but received no response.

    We find a compatible docking ring and prepare to board. Mara, Aves and I are suited up in Enviro-suits and weapons. I went onboard first (I'm security officer after all), but then quickly turned around and told Mara and Aves to go back to the Wild Karrde.

    The gore inside was beyond description. The craft and crew must have experienced severe inertia coupling when it was flung thousands of kilometers through space. No gravity or inertia compensators in the universe could counteract that type of extreme gyrations. The unfortunate humans on board were shattered against bulkheads like a Kashyyyk tree frog in a blender. The interior was painted in blood.

    The scene was so gross I was afraid that I would vomit in my helmet—nobody wants to vomit in an enviro-suit helmet. Fortunately we get back to the Wild Karrde and I tear off my headgear before my stomach lurched. Mara and Aves didn't see a fraction of what I saw, but they are looking pale and nauseous also.

    We seal up the spacecraft and contact the New Republic leadership. Despite the human carnage inside, it may be possible to salvage the space cannon. Karrde talked to Leia Organa Solo and highly recommended saving the weapon, but who knows what the NR will do with it.
    Entry 46. Deep Core, Beshqek System, prior location of planet Byss

    We stayed at the Byss system for a week picking up objects floating in space. Most of the salvageable items appeared to have come from the Emperor's Super Star Destroyer, which was orbiting Byss prior to the planet's destruction. Twice I had to spacewalk out in a hardened enviro-suit to make sure we weren't bringing something aboard that could kill us.

    One time we can upon some shipping crates that our sensors couldn't penetrate, so I suited up and went out into the vacuum. I was checking out the contents when a kark'n dead body bumped into me. I am ashamed to admit that it startled a scream out of me. I felt like a fool, but when something bumps your shoulder and you turn around and the face of some dead Imperial is floating inches from your helmet visor…well, it's creepy! All of these dead bodies remind me of Blackwing Virus zombies—another not-so-sweet memory lodged into my head via my run-in with the Emperor. I hate this place. I have been on edge since we came into the system. I can't help but think of Kira's concerns about the Emperor wandering around the universe looking for a body to possess. I don't know if that is the reason I'm jumpy or not.

    After I panicked and screamed, I heard Mara over my helmet headset asking me what happened and if I was all right. I have to tell her a dead body scared me. I dreaded coming back on board because I'm the security officer but I was acting as jumpy as a kid watching a horror-holo.

    When I did come through the Wild Karrde airlock Mara met me. I was waiting for the jokes, but she had a dead serious look on her face.

    "Mark, don't feel bad about being nervous. There's something wrong here," she said sounding uneasy. "There's a dark shadow over the system. I can feel a residue of evil from the darksiders that once dwelled on Byss." She hesitated for a moment obviously deciding whether she should tell me more. "Mark, I think the death of billions of people on the planet caused a wound in the Force. You're feeling the echoes of pain and terror felt by the people who perished here."

    I nod my head. "Thanks Mara." I take off my enviro-suit and hang it up. "I think I'll take a break."

    I left the airlock and went to the cargo bay of the ship where we still kept the Ysalamiri. We haven't been back to Myrkr to release them and Karrde liked the security of having them aboard. When I was able to get into the Force bubble the dark cloud of despair I felt lifted. Mara was right; there was a wound in the Force.

    I know that Byss was an Imperial stronghold, but the fact that I had a hand in the deaths of so many people greatly upsets me. I think we didn't feel the destruction of Byss at the time because we were in hyperspace and we had the Ysalamiri on board. I'm glad I didn't sense it when it happened.

    I took Nibbles out of her cage and cradled her in my arms. I leaned against the bulkhead and then slowly slid down the wall to the floor. I stayed there for about twenty minutes before Mara came in to make sure I was okay. She sat down next to me and leaned her head against my shoulder. She doesn't say anything…she doesn't have to… Mara knows I am having a hard time handling what happened in the last few weeks. I helped kill a billion people and then got paid for it. I didn't really think about it until I came back to Byss. Before then it wasn't real to me. But having stared at the faces of the dead for the last few days—it has become very, very real.

    I wonder if Luke felt this way when he blew up the Death Star.

    I can't wait until this mission is over.
    Entry 47: Coruscant.

    When we arrived back to Coruscant we discover Luke found another Jedi Student. His name is Kam Solusar. He is tall with a shock of white hair…which I think is his original color since he doesn't look much older than Luke. Kam was once a Jedi and was trained by his late father and Jedi, Ranik Solusar. According to Solusar, Darth Vader captured and tortured him until his will was broken, his memories were wiped and he eventually was turned to the darkside (The more I hear about Vader, the more I am shocked that Luke's related to that nasty piece of poodoo). Solusar was one of Palpatine's dark side minions who survived because he along with another darksider named Vill Goir were on Vjun when Byss was destroyed. Kam described Goir as a darkside elite warrior who was ordered to train him on Sith warrior secrets and techniques.

    Kam said there were a number of Dark Side Adepts working for Palpatine, to include a particularly cruel darksider named Executor Sedriss, but he thought he and Vill Goir were the only adepts off planet when Byss was destroyed (I sure hope he's right). The two men went separate ways when they felt the destruction of Byss and Kam didn't know where Goir was now located or if he was even alive.

    According to Luke, he and Kam battled with lightsabers before he was able to free Kam from the dark side and restore his lost memories. Solusar will be joining us at the Academy when construction is completed. Luke says Kam is great with a lightsaber and he'll help me out. That's good, because I can use all the help I can get. I just don't like the lightsaber. It is a close-combat weapon. I would rather shoot the bad guy while I am a thousand meters away with a high power sniper blaster….but, hey, that's just me.

    Kam seems like a nice guy and he looks just like my favorite holovid action hero…which is cool.

    I don't hang around long because I want to see Kira. I've had a horrible week. I'm hoping her touch can soothe away some of the darkness that has plagued me during the Byss mission.

    I get another room in the city. I think it is time to find an apartment since the Jedi Temple won't be ready for occupation for a while.

    Anyway, the reunion with Kira was sweet and lasted most of the night. I think Kira's becoming Force sensitive because she had to be drawing on Force energy during our late night activities…or maybe she just really missed me. Either way, she wore me out.

    Gods, I love that woman. It's good to be home.
    Entry 48: Coruscant.

    Luke set up some lightsaber training sessions for Mara, Kam and me during the week. Until the Jedi Academy is up and running we are going to have our training in a cleared out courtyard of the battle damaged Imperial Palace. It is probably as good an area as any since the ground is uneven, there is still rubble around the perimeter and there are places to use as cover or concealment. Training there has a real world feel to it.

    This would be the first occasion I practiced with a lightsaber since my disastrous attempt at Pinnacle Base…but this time I'm prepared. I went down to the Coruscant lower levels that morning and visited a number of pawnshops and found what I needed. I bought some old Mandalorian Armor—a chest plate and codpiece. Both are made from Beskar, which is supposed to be blaster and lightsaber-proof. The armor is a non-distinct gray color, so it shouldn't stand out.

    I show up to lightsaber practice and Luke and Kam gave me a strange look. Let them look; I don't trust those targeting droids Luke uses during practice.

    Mara sees me and cracks up laughing.

    I frown at her. "What? It is lightsaber and blasterproof!"

    She raised an eyebrow and I know right then she is thinking of something evil to do to me. "Is that right?" she asks. The next thing I know she has her blaster in hand and she is aiming right at my crotch.

    I yelp in surprise and my first instinct is to bring my hands down in a protective manner, but I realized I need my hands almost as much as the body part I'm trying to protect. So I do the second thing that comes to mind—which is to drop to the ground so she doesn't have any Beskar to target.

    I heard everybody laughing. "Stang Mark," Mara chuckled, "did you really think I would shoot you in the groin? I wouldn't want an angry Kira coming after me for hurting her 'Big Red'".

    I know I'm blushing as I stand up and brush the dust off my clothing. "If your blaster was set on stun…yes I do think you would shoot me. It would be payback for me stunning Luke."

    Mara grins as she holsters her weapon. "Stunning Luke was the best thing you've ever did." She gave Luke a sensual smile. "I don't see Luke complaining about how that turned out."

    It's now Luke's turn to turn red. He gives a nervous cough before starting the practice session.

    Luke opened a hardened carrying case. Inside were four lightsabers, cushioned in a custom foam interior. The lightsabers look different from the one I used at Pinnacle base—the handgrips are painted an obnoxious orange color.

    "These are practice sabers. They are non-lethal, but they will raise a welt if the blade hits you," Luke warned us. "I painted them orange so I can tell at a glance that a student is using a practice saber."

    He takes out one of the sabers and activates it. The blade looks almost like a normal lightsaber, but a little less intense. Luke held out his bare arm and quickly tapped the blade down on it. He doesn't even flinch, but I can see a nasty red welt forming. He looked up at us and smiled. "It hurts but it won't kill."

    Luke shuts down the lightsaber and then hands them out. "Kam and I will give a little demonstration before the actual instruction begins." Luke and Kam walk to the middle of the courtyard and activate their sabers, raise their sabers in a salute, and then the fight was on.

    I have to say, I was totally impressed with Luke and Kam's fencing skills. They were back-flipping and jumping back-and-forth while swinging the lightsabers around with scary precision.

    Mara and I were sitting next to each other on top of a short retaining wall. She's watching Luke with this mesmerize look on her face. Since I have to shield when around Luke I can't pick up anything from her through the Force, but I can guess she is daydreaming about her Jedi. I lean over to her and whisper. "You're visualizing him nude, aren't you?"

    I can see the blood rush to her face. Bahahahaha! I know I'm right! She pushes me hard and I fall backwards off the wall. Luckily, my Force instincts kicked in and I was able to cushion my fall. I'm still laughing as she looks over her shoulder to where I'm lying on the ground. "You do know we're next to duel."

    That shut me up. I really don't want to find out if Beskar armor is actually lightsaber proof…even with practice lightsabers.

    Luckily I survived the training with all my body parts intact...albeit a bit battered and bruised. I am getting better with the saber, but I still prefer a blaster. The one thing I do like about the lightsaber is it can redirect blaster fire, which is nice. Also Luke said the saber could deflect Force lightning. Now that is something I could have used when fighting Palpatine.

    After the sparring session, I went back to my hotel room dead tired. When I saw myself in the 'fresher mirror and was shocked to see the damage. My face and arms are covered with welts. It's nothing that a little bacta salve wont fix, but for a day or two I'll look like a herd of Banthas trampled me.

    Of course, on the one day I hoped Kira wouldn't stop by to see me…she did. She gasped when I opened the door. "Gods Mark, what happened?"

    I motion her to come on in. "I was attacked by a hot tempered former Imperial assassin brandishing a practice lightsaber."

    "Mara did this to you?" I could hear shock and amazement in Kira's voice and I wasn't quite sure if it was because she's impressed with Mara's incredible fighting ability or it was disappointment in my lack of skill.

    "You should see her," I say with a bit of bravado and a lot of misrepresentation—Mara looks great. I didn't touch her once. She trained with a lightsaber for over a decade; I can't be expected to beat her.

    "Oh Mark, I'm sorry you're hurt." She wrapped her arms around my neck and attempted to kiss me but I flinch when she touches a welt on the back of my neck.

    I give her an embarrassed look. "Sorry, she got the back of my neck."

    "Well, then bend down so I can kiss you.

    I hesitated, "she sort of got me in the kisser," I said self-consciously.

    "Is there anywhere she didn't hit you?" Kira jested.

    I grinned. "I was wearing a protective Beskar codpiece."

    "You're terrible," she laughed as she playfully pushed me away.

    "While you are here, can you put salve on my back?"

    I take off my shirt and from the gasp coming from Kira I can tell it must look bad. I sparred with Mara off and on for over two hours. At least near the end of the session I was doing a much better job fending her off. Luke said I did great for a beginner, which made me feel good. But still, if we were using real lightsabers I would have been sliced and diced into pieces too small for Bluefish bait. I get the salve out of the 'fresher and Kira gently applied it to my wounds.

    "I should give Mara a piece of my mind!" Kira protested.

    I have to snicker. "That's something I would like to see, The Emperor's Hand versus the Emperor's Chef. Mara pulls out a lightsaber, but wait there comes a sizzling Crepes Flambé thrown toward the Jedi…ouch!" I yelped as she applied some salve a little to roughly.

    "She knows you're a beginner, she should have went easy on you. Bend down so I can get your shoulders."

    I get down on my knees so Kira could apply the bacta salve to my neck and shoulders. I am embarrassed to say, but I am pretty sure Mara was going easy on me.

    "Kira, each one of those welts would be a killing blow. A dark Force user won't go easy on me. What I learn will probably save my life." I turn and gave her my best pleading look. "Don't be mad at her."

    Kira rolled her eyes. "Fine, but I still think it looks like she enjoyed hitting you."

    I chuckled. "I'm sure she didn't mind giving me a smack or two. But it was payback for all the jokes I pulled on her. I definitely deserve what was coming to me." I stood up with a groan and then leaned down and gently kissed her. "Will you stay the night and tend to my wounds?"

    She gives me a coy look. "I would rather tend to your undamaged parts."

    I smile broadly. "That'll work too…but be gentle with me." I leaned in and despite the pain gave her a passionate kiss.

    ENTRY 49: Coruscant

    Finally! I have an apartment on Coruscant. It is not on the upper level, but its clean, affordable and in a fairly safe area of the city. Unfortunately it's unfurnished, and I would like to avoid purchasing furniture décor that screams, "A bachelor lives here!" I want Kira to feel comfortable visiting me, so I ask Mara to help me decorate the place.

    We go out shopping together, which was fun. I enjoy doing things with Mara that don't involve me being beaten with a practice lightsaber. I purchase the basics and have them delivered to the apartment. As I was unpacking and assembling my purchases Mara started talking about the upcoming Sweetheart's Day celebration.

    "Mark, have you thought about what to get Kira for Sweetheart's Day?"

    I grin because that is all I have thought about in the last week. I really wanted to give her something special. "I already got her something," I said. I get up and go to my bedroom and pull out some documents out of my backpack. I bring it back to show Mara. "What do you think?"

    Mara looks over the papers and gives me a skeptical look. "You bought half-interest in the restaurant Kira works at?"

    I nod yes.

    "Does she know this?"

    "Not yet," I admit. "And I don't want anybody to know yet. So don't tell anybody."

    Mara shakes her head. "And you are going to give this to her?"

    I must have had a sheepish look on my face because Mara just laughs at me while handing the paperwork back. "Mark, you have only been dating a short time, you can't give her a gift like that."

    "Why not?"

    Mara sighs. "Mark it's too much too soon. You'll come off looking needy and desperate and you'll make her feel awkward."

    I am a little crestfallen. "What do you recommend?"

    "Jewelry," Mara suggested.

    I smile widely. "Like an engagement ring?"

    She lets out an exasperated breath. "Mark, slow down! Get her a necklace or earrings."

    I rub my hand through my beard in thought. "Maybe you're right."

    I probably am rushing things. But it's hard not to rush when I know I should be dead. I could have very easily been one of those unfortunate souls buried under Mount Tantiss. Angry smugglers or pirates could have easily shot me while on smuggling runs, The Emperor could have killed me on Byss…there are so many ways to die when you are a smuggler…or a Jedi. Both are very dangerous professions and I don't want to miss out on the joys of life: Love, marriage and children.

    Mara patted my shoulder in a sisterly manner as she moved toward the door. "I know I'm right." As she opened the door she grinned at me. "Since you now are part owner of the most exclusive restaurant in Capital City, maybe you can get us a private room for their Sweethearts Celebration Party."

    I smile. "That I can do."
    ENTRY 50: Coruscant Manarai Restaurant ~ Sweethearts Day Party

    I was able reserve a private room in the Manarai for the big bash. The restaurant had been open to the public for a few weeks, but this was the first major event the establishment hosted since hostilities ended on the planet. The place was booked up solid.

    I was happy to learn that Han and Leia were able to attend. Luke let me know a couple days before the party. It was great seeing them again. Leia is now showing with her third child. The couple is still worried about kidnapping attempts so they left their twins with their friend Winter on New Alderaan. Unfortunately they did bring their irritating droid See Threepio. Why they drag around that prissy protocol droid is beyond me. I mean most modern datapads can do translation applications now. Okay, maybe not 6 million forms of communication, but who needs to talk to 6 million different species on any given day? I should have told them there was a no-droid policy.

    Anyway, the party is in full swing. Leia is impressed that Kira could get us a private room. Only Mara knows I have a financial interest in the establishment. Everybody else thinks Kira pulled some strings. Even Kira things she is responsible for getting us the posh private suite. Of course, even if I wasn't part owner Leia or Luke probably would have been accommodated, but I know neither of the twins would want to use their celebrity to bump people out of their reservations. This room was usually reserved for the owners' so I didn't have to bump anybody to get it.

    We had a wonderful meal. Kira didn't make it, but her assistant chefs are awesome cooks in their own right. I was sitting across from her and she gave me a suggestive smile while rubbing her foot up and down my leg under the table. I grinned and thought, "You better stop doing that or I won't be able to stand up".

    Tucked inside my coat pocket is a gemstone necklace with matching earrings. I took Mara's advice and didn't give her anything extremely extravagant. I was going to give it to Kira here, but if she was disappointed I didn't want anybody else to see her reaction, therefore I decided to wait until the party ended and present it to her in private.

    The waiters clear the table and we are about to go dancing when Luke stands up and says, "Before we go out to the dance floor there is something I would like to do." He turns to Mara and gets down on one knee and opens up a small jewelry box. Inside is a ring with a diamond that's so big it probably could be used to signal ships in space.

    He clears his throat. "Mara, I know you have given me your answer already, but I wanted to make this official. Will you marry me?"

    Leia and Kira are getting all teary eyed and emotional…. especially Leia. Those pregnancy hormones must be raging because she is so happy she's sobbing…and that annoying droid is saying something like "Oh my, this is wonderful news." Yeah, like it really cares. Of course Mara says yes and Luke stands and they kiss…for a very, very long time.

    I'm about to say, "Get a room you two!", when they finally broke apart. I thought Luke was done with the surprises, but no… Luke is just getting started. He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a handheld holoprojector and activates it. The image of a Horizon-Class Star Yacht suddenly appears above the device. Luke smiles widely, "It's for you."

    I actually jumped when Mara let out a very loud and uncharacteristic squeal of delight.

    "Luke, it's beautiful!"

    I roll my eyes. Mara is practically cooing. Stang! I already felt emasculated by that ring. My necklace and earrings look like costume jewelry compared to that giant diamond…but Luke has to throw in a hugely expensive Yacht! Come on, a Jedi Knight shouldn't kriff-block another guy on Sweetheart's Day!

    "I can't take all the credit," Luke continued. "It was a gift to me from Governor Beltane of the factory world of Balmorra. Palpatine's darkside adepts had been subjugating the planet for some time. The Governor was extremely grateful that we destroyed the Emperor and his co-conspirators."

    Okay, I'm glad that Luke was able to get some reward for risking his life and I am absolutely thrilled that Mara has a ship that she always wanted, but shavit, Luke's making me look bad in front of my lady. I should have given Kira the restaurant papers. Dammit, now if I give it to her it will look like I am trying to outdo Skywalker.

    We all go out to the dance floor. I dance around with Kira and she is raving on about how lucky Mara is. The music changed and we switch dance partners and I get to dance with Mara.

    While dancing I lean close to Mara and whisper. "That must have been so embarrassing for you Mara…I mean getting that expensive gift makes Luke look so needy and desperate. I hope you don't feel too awkward."

    She gives me a forced smile. "Ha Ha. My advice is still good for you. Luke and I have been engaged since the destruction of Byss."

    My eyebrows rose. I am surprised she could keep that secret from me. I can't read her mind, but I definitely can sense her emotions through the Force when I'm not shielding. And sometimes when she is in a highly emotional state I can pick up some stray thoughts. Maybe he proposed to her when I was around the ysalamiri.

    I smile and give her a gentle hug. This is her special day and I shouldn't be jealous. "Congratulations," I say warmly. "I know he'll make you very happy."

    And I know he will. They're perfect for each other.

    After we leave the party Kira accompanies me back to my new apartment. I give her the jewelry and she doesn't look disappointed at all. In fact she thanked me all night.
  19. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    Wahooooo we're back in business. Just popping in to say hi! :D
  20. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Hi. I sorta half kept up with this journal at FF.n, but you updated it so darn much! Hopefully I'll be able to keep up here.
  21. Hazel

    Hazel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 9, 2010
    I love rereading this diary. :-D

    Btw, if this post looks weird it's because I'm using tapatalk for the very first time.
  22. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Entry 51: Coruscant

    A couple days after the Sweethearts Day party Kira comes over to my apartment with a troubled look on her face, so I ask her what's wrong.

    "Mark, I overheard Mr. Thomaas saying that the new co-owner of the restaurant was at the Sweethearts party the other day. I didn't even know the heirs to Mr. Mandoph's estate sold their interest in the establishment."

    Thomaas and Mandoph were the two business partners that owned the Manarai. I bought Mandoph's interest from his heirs… and I really don't know why this is upsetting Kira.

    "So?" I ask. "Does it matter who the new owner is?"

    She rubs her forehead like she's getting a headache and sits down on my couch. "It can matter," she said. "New owners usually bring in their own chef and head waiter staff. This can cause at least a partial turnover in the senior personnel." She shakes her head. "I'm sure Master chef Tavvar Va'ran's job is safe, but I was hired by Mister Mandoph, so there is a very good chance that I'll be replaced."

    "Nobody is going to replace you," I reassure her. I sat down next to Kira and gave her a hug around the shoulder. "You're too good of a chef…why do you think the Emperor had you abducted to work in his kitchen. He knew what a fantastic cook you are."

    She doesn't look very reassured. She frowns and then buries her head in her hands. I realize that now is the time to tell Kira what I did…that I am the new co-owner. I don't need her worrying about this. If I look desperate and needy…then so be it.

    "Working at the Manarai was my life's dream," she continued. "I don't know what I'm going to do to convince the new owner to retain me as second chef."

    I have to chuckle. I know what she could do. You know, sometimes I wish there was a checkpoint between my brain and my mouth because I said something really stupid. "I guess you could sleep with the new owner."

    Okay, if you knew I was the new owner…then that would be a funny joke. But since Kira doesn't know I bought half interest in the restaurant…then it's just a horribly offensive and tacky comment. As I felt the anger boil up in Kira I cringed and mentally chastised myself,"Tell her you are the new owner first and THEN make that particular joke, you moron!"

    "Mark, I know you are joking, but that's not funny," she practically spat out the words.

    "Well, it sort of is… because I'm the new owner," I say sheepishly.

    Her glare turned to a look of confusion. "What?"

    "I'm the new co-owner."

    She shakes her head. "How is that possible?"

    I shrug my shoulders. "I got some reward money for killing Palpatine."

    "How much of a reward did they give you?" She sounds completely flabbergasted.

    "Two hundred thousand credits," I admit.

    "Two hundred thousand credits!" she gasped. "You bought half interest for two hundred thousand credits!"

    Oh boy, now I'm wondering if I was totally ripped off. "Well, I only paid one hundred and ninety thousand credits…I needed to keep some money to get this apartment and furniture." I started to feel a little queasy. "Was I swindled?"

    "Swindled?" She starts laughing. "No, you weren't swindled. Mandoph's family must have been desperate. You should have paid three times that amount."

    I let out a breath and relaxed. "Good, I wasn't sure."

    "Why didn't you tell me?" Kira demanded.

    I give her a guilty look. "It's complicated. I bought it before I told you I was a clone. I didn't want you to feel any pressure to stay with me." I pause. "I'm not sure why I bought it. I know my thinking involved you. It probably was a way of staying close to you if things didn't work out between us. I know that makes me sound like a stalker." I shook my head. "I wouldn't have done that…I would have sold my interest in the restaurant if we didn't remain friends."

    I'm rambling like and idiot. I'm just really nervous that she is going to react badly to the news. Mara was right; it probably will make her feel awkward. But to my surprise she lets out a sigh of relief.

    "That is a load off my shoulders. And the head waiter and manager will be relieved." She turns to me. "You aren't going to change the staff are you?"

    My forehead creases in confusion. "No, why would I change the staff?"

    She smiles and pats my knee. "I just wanted to make sure before I told them the good news."

    "What are you going to tell them exactly?"

    She leans in and kissed me. She then pulls back and gives me a suggestive smile. "Oh, I don't know…maybe that I slept with the new owner to retain their jobs."

    "You better not!" I said shocked. "I mean, you better not tell them that; the sleeping with me part is okay though."

    "I'm just kidding," she reassures me.

    I pulled her into my arms and gave her a prolonged kiss. As we separate she gives me a devious smile. "Does this mean I'm going to get a raise?"

    "I'd have to talk to Mr. Thomaas about that," I couldn't help smirking, "but I definitely got a raise from you just now."

    "You are incorrigible," she laughed as he pulled me in for another kiss.

    ENTRY 52: Coruscant

    A few days ago Luke gave me my own lightsaber to use. This is a real one…not a practice saber. He said I would make my own lightsaber before I become an official Jedi Knight, but for now I needed one for training (practice sabers don't work as well against remotes) and in case we go off on any Jedi missions. Luke made it himself with me in mind. It has a large handgrip and a blue blade. I think the saber may be a hint that I need to practice more. I still favor my blaster. I think I prefer the blaster because you can put it on stun. If I want to capture a person in one piece the saber is only good for intimidation. It's just too lethal. If you activate a saber you have to be prepared to start cutting off limbs.

    I have been practicing with the targeting remote and so far that evil droid has not been able to hit me again. I'm becoming much more proficient. We are still practicing in the Palace courtyard, but hopefully by the end of the year the temple will be finished. So far, the construction droids have cleared out the area where the temple will be built.

    Speaking of the temple…Luke was finalizing the plans for the Academy and asked for my advice, so I go over to the small apartment he and Mara rented in Capital City. Luke rolled out some construction blue prints for me and Mara to look over. I examine the layout plans of the new building and was impressed. It is huge. It is basically square with a giant courtyard in the center of the upper level. The courtyard is protected from the elements by a large transparisteel pyramid that tops the large structure.

    "As you can see," Luke says as he points to one part of the plans. "This is where the offices and cadre will be housed. The student dormitories will be on the mid levels. Here is the gymnasium and courtyard. We have classrooms, training areas, and libraries on the other side."

    I nod my head. "Am I going to be a student or a cadre by the time this is ready for occupancy?"

    Luke smiled. "I'm hoping you will be skilled enough by then to be considered cadre or at the very least you would be a senior apprentice."

    "If I am cadre, will I be expected to live in the temple?"

    Luke gave me a curious look. "Not if you don't want to Mark, why?"

    I point over to the cadre housing. "I assume you will be living there with Mara…and I really don't want to be living that close to you two."

    Luke raised an eyebrow. "We can have your quarters on the opposite end of the hallway. Usually our Force backlash diminishes completely after 50 meters."

    I nod my head. "The Force backlash drops off at 50 meters, but I can pick up words and thoughts from Mara usually up to 200 meters if I'm not shielding."

    Luke's brow creases. He turned to Mara and then looked back at me. "You can pick up Mara's thoughts…when does this happen?"

    I shift my feet nervously. "You know, when she's experiencing intense emotions… or excitement."

    Mara turns red. "Mark I really doubt you are picking up actual thoughts from me. Other than emotions and flashes of images, I can't pick up any actual words from you..and I was trained by Palpatine to communicate through the Force."

    I grinned at Mara. "Maybe I'm stronger in the Force than you." I point to a location on the temple grounds as far away from Luke's quarters as possible. "Can I have living quarters put in for me over there? It is on the other side of the courtyard. If not, I'll stay at my current apartment?"

    I hesitate for a moment. I might as well tell Luke my other request while we're here. "Also, what do you think about having the callisthenic room housed with Ysalamiri? It would prevent students from using the Force during exercises. It doesn't seem fair that people stronger in the Force can do exercises easier than those with a weaker command of the Force."

    I see Mara roll her eyes. She doesn't like being around the ysalamiri. I think it is a good idea, but I also am worried about releasing the animals back into the wild after being tamed. I wouldn't want Nibbles eaten by a wild Vornskr on Myrkr.

    Luke runs his hand through his hair. "I don't mind the ysalamiri in areas where we don't' want them using the Force and I could request some of the offices to be converted to living quarters." He looks at me again confused. "Exactly what thoughts are you picking up?"

    I can feel my cheeks heat up. Why is it when it comes to embarrassing stuff I always have to spell it out for Luke? I hesitate for a few seconds not knowing how to phrase this without Mara killing me. "When you two are…you know…together…doing stuff…I pick up a few stray thoughts."

    Luke blushed as red as my beard as he glanced over to Mara. She shook her head.
    "It's impossible."

    I look between Mara and Luke. "Mara, you told me that Leia was able to communicate with you through the Force on Wayland, right?"

    "Yes," she conceded.

    "Can you and Luke communicate through the Force?" I ask.

    "Yes, but the ability grew over time through our bond."

    I nod. "Since Luke and Leia can communicate with you and you with them, why couldn't Luke's clone?"

    She shook her head. "The ability might be passed on genetically, but if you had that talent you could be picking up thoughts from anyone."

    I smirked, "No, I am pretty sure the thoughts come from you." I pause for a moment. "Tell me, what exactly is a Coruscanti Swirl?"

    Mara's jaw dropped and Luke turned white as the blood drained from his face. He quickly rolled up the blueprints. "I'll contact the architect and have another set of living quarters built on the far side of the temple." He then turned and quickly walked out the room leaving me to face Mara.

    She scowled as she grabbed me by the sleeve and pulled me to her apartment door. "I'll make sure you have your ysalamiri room. It'll be located right next to your new quarters," she said tersely as she pushed me out of her residence and into the building corridor.

    "Does that mean you are not going to tell me what a Coruscanti Swirl is?"

    Mara's scowled grew deeper as she closed the door in my face.

    ENTRY 53: Outer Rim, Adegan System.

    I was supposed to go on a trade run with Karrde, but at the last minute Mara told me she was taking my place because Luke wanted to bring me out on my first mission as a Jedi Apprentice. The government gave Luke a modified freighter especially designed to navigate uncharted hyperspace routes. It was heavily armored and had both laser and ion cannons. It was originally a two-seater, but as Luke had it modified to seat eight people. In the ship cargo hold there's a four seat T-77 speeder so we can explore through cities and towns.

    Luke's research with the holocron revealed that the planet Ossus located along the Perlemian Trade Route was once a huge center for Jedi learning for thousands of years. He is hoping that Jedi relics or information could still be found there. It is an outer rim planet so it is a long flight. Kam and Luke are sitting in the pilot and co-pilot seat. Since I don't know how to fly a spacecraft I sit in the seat behind Luke writing on my datapad to kill time. So far the flight has been smooth, but for a while we were followed by what looked like an Imperial Probe Droid. Kam shot a seeker missile at it and we haven't seen it since.

    I can't wait to get my pilot license. Chin taught me a lot about how to fly a ship, but I don't have certification yet. That will be the first thing on my "To Do" list. My flash training was for a ground soldier. I know how to drive land and airspeeders, but nothing that travels in the vacuum of space. I also don't have any Jump Trooper flash training. That is another thing I would like to learn. I think it would be fun to be able to fly around with an AJP-400 Jet Pack. I am carrying my blaster and the real lightsaber Luke let me borrow. I really hope I don't have to use the lightsaber. I'm pretty good with it now, but I still don't want my life to depend on my saber skills…at least not yet. I need a bit more practice.

    We are coming up to Ossus and I am really glad I am not piloting. The entire atmosphere is erupting with electrical storms. It was rough going for a while and I was extremely glad I don't get motion sickness. Kam lands the ship down in an area that is full of ruins. Luke says we are going to take a look around. I will write more later.

    Entry 54: Ossus

    Today I had my first Jedi trial by fire! I lived! Of course if I didn't live I probably wouldn't be writing this unless Force ghosts can operate datapads.

    After Kam landed the ship we exited the spacecraft and were looking around the ruins when suddenly that kriff'n probe droid drops down almost on top of us. We all pull out our blasters and start shooting. Kam mentioned that if we aim at the vents under the optical sensors we could hit the self-destruct charges located in that area. Which makes me wonder what idiot designed these probes?

    I can just see the designer now, 'Where should I put the self-destruct explosives? Should it be behind the heavily armored area of the droid…nah. Why don't I put it behind the vulnerable vents.' Stang, Imperial weapon engineers are just as incompetent as Imperial Stormtroopers. The droid designer might as well have duct taped the explosives on the outside of the probe. It would've been just as effective.

    Anyway, we shoot the vents and blow up the droid. Luke and Kam are now concerned that the Imperials know our location. We decide to fire up the speeder and take a look around before any more probe droids show up. The speeder is nice and especially built for exploration missions. I just wish the New Republic could have spent the extra money to put a top on it. Who ever heard of an exploration speeder that a convertible? I'll probably be picking bugs out from between my teeth for hours.

    Shavit, I'm rambling again.

    Anyway, as we are driving around we all sense a concentration in the Force in the distance. We follow the increase of Force intensity through some impressive ruins and down a canyon until we come upon two humans tied to a strange misshapen tree. There is a woman who looks like she's in her early twenties and a teenage boy. We stop the speeder and get out. Luke senses they are Force users, so he wants to cut them loose, but Kam is concerned that they are tied to a tree for a reason. They could be criminals or cutting the rope binding them to the tree could be breaking some local custom or taboo. Luke doesn't listen to Kam's advice…he's a little over zealous when it comes to finding more Force-users. He decides they are potential Jedi and therefore they should be set free. So what does he do? He activates his lightsaber and marches right up to them. I don't think he realizes that walking up to these kids with an activated lightsaber is scaring the kriff out of them. They are freaking out and jabbering in some weird language. As soon as Luke cuts the rope the boy bolts.

    "Some Jedi," Kam said. "They're running like rats!"

    Luke is trying to calm the young woman down before she runs. Of course, that would be a lot easier if he actually turned off his lightsaber. "They're not quite Jedi," Luke says with his lightsaber still blazing. "They need a teacher. We'll take them with us."

    What? We'll take them with us? Does he mean off planet? For Force-sake, they're not lost pittins. Okay, I know Luke's heart is in the right place. These youngsters were obviously left for dead and Luke wants to save them…like he saved me from Wayland…but I was a different story. These people are not unconscious and in stasis.

    The two youths ran off towards a group of locals who suddenly appeared riding strange bantha-sized animals. A man wearing a strange facemask raises his hand and screams something that sounds like "Oqu esa ovce quef az por vorr tedos!" Kam thought it sounded like some ancient language, but it's just gibberish to me. No matter what was said it was obvious that these local warriors were mad and brandishing weapons in our direction. Seeing the upraised weapons, Kam lights his lightsaber and stands next to Luke. I was going to go for my blaster, but I reluctantly reach for my saber instead. I ignite it and stand next to Kam. Luke is telling us not to hurt any of these people because they are all very strong in the Force and could be potential Jedi.

    The warriors on their mounts suddenly start shooting at us. They don't have conventional blasters, but some type of rifles that shoot darts. I am really glad I have been practicing with the saber because I was able to deflect the small arrow-like projectiles shot at me. Seeing their guns are ineffective the masked warrior dismounts and starts dancing around chanting. The other men start chanting also and reach their hands out and I can feel the Force swirling around us. I am not sure what they are trying to do, but obviously it has no effect on us. Finally the guy in the facemask takes off his helmet and says "Jedi." He runs up and hugs Luke and then starts chanting "Jedi, Jedi, Jedi!"

    I thought we were done fighting for the day, but no, it could never be that easy.

    Suddenly a long-range Imperial Hunter warship shows up and lands. Before we knew it a bunch of stormtroopers come running out of the ship followed by two ugly guys wearing all black. Kam says the man with the spiky hair and overly large codpiece (overcompensating for something, huh buddy?) is Executor Sedriss and the other man is Vill Goir, the dark warrior who gave Kam his darkside training on Vjun.

    The local tribesmen attack the stormtroopers as Luke, Kam and I wade into the battle using the Force to shield us from blaster fire (I stuck close to Luke because I haven't mastered that particular technique yet). We struck down all the stormtroopers within a few minutes.

    I looked down at the blood soaked ground and then to my lightsaber. This is the first time I have killed with the weapon… and I really don't like it.

    It's a misconception that lightsaber strikes always cauterize a wound. Sometimes they do and other times a glancing blow can open up an artery or spill internal organs onto the ground. A lightsaber is a devastating weapon. I try to wipe the blood off my beskar chest plate, but I am just smearing it around, so I quit trying.

    As the stormtroopers lay dead or dying at our feet the two darksiders come toward us with arms outstretched using the Force to strangle us, but Luke waves his hand and counters their assault. Luke then faces Sedriss and Goir and to my disbelief starts taunting the two Sith-wannabes. Ha! It must be genetic. I remember doing the same thing to Palpatine much to Karrde's dismay. The two irate darksiders rush us. Kam cuts down Goir with one strike of his lightsaber and Luke uses the Force to toss Sedriss about 20 meters until he crashed into that old gnarly tree. At this point I am not ashamed to admit that I am getting a big case of hero worship when it comes to these two Jedi. Damn, I hope I can be as good as them one day.

    When Sedriss hits the tree it startled the young woman out from behind it. She must have been using the tree as cover during the skirmish. Sedriss takes her hostage and uses her as a human shield. He is telling us that he is going to take the girl and go to his ship. Kam says "Never." Then to everybody's surprise the tree says "Never."

    Okay, I didn't expect that…but I guess I should really start expecting the unexpected while hanging around Luke. The tree said he's a Jedi named Ood. Luke knew of him because the Holocron gatekeeper… Bobabaggins…or whatever his name is…spoke about a Jedi Master Ood Bnar.

    The Jedi Master's branches snake down and grab Sedriss who still has a firm one-handed grip on the young woman. Luke runs forward and tries to pull the girl free. We can all feel the power of the Force growing and surging through the ground and around the air. The tree Jedi is telling Luke to get away that there is great danger, but Luke's not going to leave a potential Jedi behind. The Force is crackling in the air and causing a painful pressure in my ears and head. I can feel a rumbling under my feet and I know something bad is going to happen; I also realize Luke is going to save this woman or die trying. I ignite my saber and run up to Executor Sedriss and with one quick stroke I take off his arm that held the girl. Luke falls back pulling the woman with him. I start running from the scene as fast as I can.

    Suddenly there was a huge explosion of Force energy. The shockwave created by the explosion tossed us all about ten meters through the air and we came crashing down to the ground. Ouch! That hurt. I'm probably going to need some bacta patches when we get back to the ship.

    I heard something land next to me. I look over and it appears to be Sedriss' boot…with his foot still inside it. I guess we don't have to worry about him anymore. I roll to my other side and see Luke lying on the ground with the young lady lying on top of him. I think Luke is stunned because he is just lying there looking dazed. Then to my shock I see the woman lean down like she was going to kiss him! Skywalker's eyes go wide as he rolls the woman off of him. He jumps to his feet and looks at me in panic. Ha Ha! We are still shielding from each other, but I am positive he's hoping I won't tell Mara about this incident.

    The woman stands up with a hurt and confused look on her face. "Tao Di Jedi," she says softly as she tried to touch Luke again. Luke backs away, but that woman is persistent. "Le letfo abor nor ken a," she continued babbling. I reach into my pants cargo pocket and pull out a small datapad. On it I have a translation application. I check it, but this particular app is only fluent in eight thousand forms of communication and hers is obviously not one of them. Damn! Now I could use Han's annoying protocol droid.

    The woman is gazing at Luke with an expression of total adoration. Hey, who can blame her, Luke saved her life and he's almost as good-looking as me. Anyway, she smiles and gives him a warm hug and continued rambling on in her strange language. I have never seen Luke look as uncomfortable as he was at that moment.

    Luke looked up to me and Kam, "A little help here guys."

    I chuckled and jog up to Luke with the datapad. Luke sees it and asks me if I could translate what she's saying. I should have told him I couldn't, but I remembered how Luke laughed at me when Mara threatened to shoot me in the groin during lightsaber practice, so I thought a little retribution was in order.

    "Yeah sure Luke," I said as I pretended to read the datapad. "She's explaining that by tribal custom the man who releases her from the tree is destined to be her mate for life." I pause. "She is saying she looks forward to having a lot of hot passionate sex with you and making many Jedi babies."

    Luke's eyes went wide and then narrowed. I flinch when he dropped his shields so he could sense my thoughts through the Force. After a painful second or two of Force backlash his shields go back up and looks at me irritated. "This is not the time to joke, Mark," he said as he tried to disentangle himself from the woman's embrace.

    I laughed. I don't know…it seemed like the perfect time to joke—all the bad guys are dead and Luke is being fondled by some Jedi-groupie. But I decided to show him a little mercy; I had enough fun at his expense for the day.

    "Okay, I'll take care of this." I move over to the woman and put my arm around her shoulder and lead her away from Luke. She gives me a confused look as I show her my datapad. I scroll though my stored photos until I come to a picture of Mara. I point toward Luke. "Jedi," I then point to Mara's photo. "Woman! Jedi's woman." She gives me a blank look. "This is the Jedi's girlfriend!" I explain to her. By her expression of total incomprehension I can tell she doesn't get it.

    She's probably just hearing, "Blah, blah, blah, Jedi, blah, blah." I look over to Kam for help, but he is just smirking at me. "Okay," I start over. "This is the Jedi's woman; they are lovers." I stretched out the word lovers as if saying it slowly would actually help her understand. Nope, she has no clue. I point to Luke and then the datapad again. "Jedi and woman are lovers!" I then make a pelvic thrusting motion. I can see Luke slapping his palm against his forehead as he flushed with embarrassment.

    Hey, it's a crude way to communicate, but I think that finally got through to her. She drops her head towards Luke in a gesture that looks like an apology. Luke lets out a relieved breath as he ran his hand through his hair nervously. I thought my job was done but suddenly I find female hands running up my side as she looked up to me and said, "Jedi?" I jump back away from her as I frantically looked through my datapad. "No, no, no," I said as she slowly approached me. "Shavit! You really need to work at playing hard to get lady!" I finally come to a photo of Kira on my datapad and show it to the young woman. I point to me and then to Kira. "My woman." For emphasis, I throw in a couple hip thrusts. She nods in understanding and then looks up to Kam and smiles.

    "Oh boy," Kam muttered, "do you have any other female photos in that datapad of yours?" I scroll through the photos, but Kira and Mara are the only women. I look up to the Jedi.

    "Sorry, no more women. I do have a photo of my stylist Erico…you're definately his type." I chuckled.

    Kam gave me a skeptical look. "You have a stylist?"

    I run my hand over my red hair and beard. "Of course, you don't get this drop dead gorgeous without a stylist." I can see Luke shaking his head at my comment. Before things got too far out of hand we hear a joyful shout coming from the area of the explosion.

    "Fnar Tlen Nukota! Lightsabers!" yelled the young boy that Luke had freed from the tree. We all turn and run over to where he was kneeling in front of a hole in the ground created by the explosion. Inside there were lightsabers…hundreds of lightsabers. Underneath Master Ood's roots was a vault full of Jedi artifacts. Luke picks up a saber and tells me this was a sign. He pushed the activation button and the ancient saber roars to life. He holds it above his head like a beacon.

    "Where there are lightsabers there will be Jedi!"

    Luke always knows how to make a great impression. We all grabbed a lightsaber and did the same. After the celebratory waving of the lightsabers in the air, we walked around the ruins seeing what else we could find. The boy and the woman are still talking to us and Luke says he is starting to understand their language—he is using the Force to help him translate their thoughts. The woman is named Jem and the boy is her younger brother, Rayf. They are from a tribe of shaman called Ysanna.

    The two guide us to a huge hidden Jedi library. There are so many books that there's no way we could take even a fraction of what's available. Luke picked up a few tomes on Jedi Battle mediation and lightsaber techniques. Kam and I snag as many book as we could carry and dump them in the speeder. Later we went to the Ysanna leaders to ask them to protect the library until we could return.

    At that time Rayf and Jem ask their tribal leaders if they could return with us to train to be Jedi. Their father Okko (who is leader of the tribe) wasn't thrilled at the prospect but grudgingly approved. This is how we ended up with two more Jedi candidates.

    I sure hope Jem keeps her hands off of Luke or she might find herself at the business end of Mara's lightsaber. And if Kira sees Jem touch me again—I'll probably find myself with a face full of crepe flambé.
  23. Hazel

    Hazel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 9, 2010
    I hope Jem keeps her hands off the boys too.
  24. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Hazel -- Thanks for reading. I am sure Jem will find some cute Jedi someday...just not Luke.

    Okay, I think I have caught up with my posting requirements with these postings. I have finished the Dark Empire storyline, now we are into the Jedi Academy books. Then to the Callista era :oops:



    ENTRY 55: Coruscant

    When we got back to Coruscant with Jem and Rayf, Luke had to figure out where to put his new recruits. He talked to his sister and she got the New Republic to allocate rooms in an undamaged wing of the Imperial Palace to house his new students until the Jedi temple was complete.

    As soon as Mara saw Jem I could see her eyes narrow and she gave Luke a questioning gaze. I wasn't close enough to hear what Luke told Mara, but I could tell she was slightly amused by his anxious explanation. I know what's bothering her. She can sense Jem's attraction to Skywalker. I later told Mara that Luke saved the woman's life and it is probably just a huge case of hero worship (of course it could be we picked up a nymphomaniac Jedi groupie. HA!).

    I really don't think she has anything to worry about. Luke and Mara are destined to be together and nobody will ever tear them apart. Of that I am certain…I can feel it in the Force and I can feel it in my heart and soul. Gods, I am starting to become a romantic fool…I blame Kira for that…but I'm not really complaining.

    Over the next week, both Jem and Rayf picked up Basic quickly. I like Rayf. We often duel with the practice lightsabers. He told me his own tribesmen tied them to the tree on Ossus—the tree that turned out to be a millennium old Jedi named Ood. It was some sort of rite of passage. They had to survive the night by using the Force to ward off wild animals. He doesn't know how that tradition started.

    My theory is Jedi Master Ood Bnar did some Jedi mind-trick to get the Ysanna tribe to tie their young men and women to him. I think he was a Jedi bondage Master with some creepy Slave/Master rope fetish. I wonder if they had a safe word? Ha Ha! When I mentioned this to Mara she just glared and asked me what type of movies Chin and I watched the last time I was on the Wild Karrde.

    Luke and I have been reading some of the books we took from Ossus (often with the use of a translation droid). I read that there are five Jedi Trials an apprentice (the book used the term Padawan) must complete to become a Jedi Knight. They are the Trials of Skill, Courage, Spirit, Flesh and Insight, but what caught my eye was a paragraph that said Padawans who defeated a Sith Lord often were seen as completing the Trial of Flesh, Skill and Courage simultaneously.

    I stood up to Palpatine, so maybe Kira was right when she said I should be on the fast track to Knighthood. From what I figure I just have the Trials of Spirit and Insight to complete. I immediately researched what those Trials entailed, but I was bit deflated to learn they involved deep meditation, self-control, and the ability to see through subterfuge, illusions and the machinations of other beings. Those are not exactly my strong points.

    Luke said his Master Obi-Wan Kenobi trained him on countering illusions. Kenobi told him, "Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them." He then put a helmet on Luke that had its blast shield down and made him fight a targeting remote blind. Luke told me Obi-Wan did this instruction while in the lounge area of Han's ship. I can't believe Han didn't have a heart attack when he saw that. There's not a lot of room to swing a lightsaber aboard the Millennium Falcon. Good thing Luke didn't have me practice this particular technique while travelling to Byss. I'd probably have sliced a hole in the bulkhead and we'd all be Jedi jetsam floating around in space.

    Another book described the three main types of Jedi. There are the Jedi Guardians, Consular and Sentinels. The Guardians are the Jedi Knight warriors. They are the people you call when you have Sith butt to kick—this is what I would like to become. There is the Jedi Consular—they are the peacekeepers, researchers, ambassadors, diplomats and lore keepers. I think this would be perfect for Leia. Then there is the Jedi Sentinel…these Jedi are fighters, but also are slicers, equipment and security experts and sometimes spies or saboteurs. I think this would be perfect for Mara and maybe Kam.

    As for Luke…I think he could be all three rolled up in one Jedi Master.

    There are also varying lightsaber techniques. Right now Luke is teaching us the basics: Makashi—which is used for lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat and Soresu—which is a defensive style used mainly for deflecting blaster fire. He said that once I mastered these styles I can look into learning an advanced technique such as Shien/Djem-So which is a good style for a large and muscular Jedi; it requires less agility, but more power. Or I can study a style called Ataru, which uses flips, leaps and lunges. I have a feeling that Ataru might not be the best style for me. I now weigh one hundred and twenty-five kilograms…I can see myself flipping over an opponent and then crashing through the floor. That wouldn't be good.

    The library on Ossus has turned out to be an invaluable asset to the Jedi. Luke said he's discovering all types of information lost in the Jedi purge. When the Jedi temple on Coruscant is completed Luke has arranged for the library books, transcripts and holocrons on Ossus to be transferred to the temple. He is very excited about the future.

    He told me, "The Jedi Knights will rise again!"




    Entry 56: Eol Sha.

    Luke is all excited about the books he found on Ossus, but right about now I'm regretting we ever found that library. Luke had been researching night and day trying to figure out where surviving Jedi or their descendants might be located in the Galaxy—people like Kam who may already have Jedi training. He discovered that the daughter of a Jedi named Ta'ania had survived and was a founding member of a colony on the planet Eol Sha. Of course, Eol Sha couldn't be a nice planet near Coruscant; it had to be an Outer Rim planet located near the highly volatile Cauldron Nebula.

    According to Luke, businessmen who thought the rare elements in the nebula gases would bring easy profits established a gas colony in the system. They offered high playing jobs for settlers to work the mining operation on Eol Sha. Unfortunately the financers of the project grossly underestimated the cost of running a mining operation and eventually the colonists found themselves abandoned on the unforgiving planet.

    Mara, Luke and I travelled to the world aboard Mara's ship, which she named Jade Shadow. She told me she named it that because of its non-reflective gray hull…it looked like a shadow crossing the night sky.

    Let me tell you, I love the Shadow. Traveling across the galaxy in a luxury yacht is the way to go. It is nothing like that cramped modified freighter the New Republic gave Luke to use. This has a dining area, cabins, and a 'fresher with a sani-steam shower; this is the way to fly!

    Luke says I'm getting spoiled and then he goes off into his "when I was younger I travelled across the galaxy in an X-Wing for days on end" speech [Insert rolling eyes emblem here]. Why would I want to spend days flying in an X-Wing where I have to urinate in a collection receptacle and pray I don't get the runs while on the flight?

    Okay, maybe I am spoiled.

    I do know I'm am rambling again, but these trips to the outer rim and back leave me little to do but write in my journal.

    Getting back to Eol Sha…what a dung hole of a planet! Compared to Eol Sha, Tatooine sounds like a paradise. Mara was not happy that her beautiful Horizon-Class Star Yacht had to land on such a brutal world. She was even unhappier when we stepped out of the ship and were immediately assaulted by the horrible smell of sulfur and chemical vapors. We moved down the boarding ramp and gazed across a field of jagged rocks and spotted a group of large cargo containers modified into makeshift shelters.

    Luke turned to us smiling excitedly. "If the records are correct we should find a man named Gantoris here. He is the grandson of a Jedi and I believe he's Force sensitive." Luke pulled his cloak's hood over his head and started walking toward the settlement.

    Mara and I pulled up our hoods also. I don't like wearing the cloak, but Luke asked me to wear it. In one of the Jedi tomes we found on Ossus, Luke discovered the Jedi had a basic uniform consisting of a tan or gray tunic, boots, belt and cloak. Luke had a tailor design a few outfits for himself. He wanted to make some for me, but the robe-like tunics look cumbersome, so I declined the offer. Mara also made up some excuse about the bulky tunic hindering movement, but I'm pretty sure she didn't want to wear them because they are definitely not flattering on the female body. We could see that Luke was disappointed in our decision…so Mara and I conceded to wearing the cloak at least.

    Oh I almost forgot. Luke read that apprentices had short hair with the exception of a shoulder-length hair braid on the right side of their head. When an apprentice is promoted to Jedi Knight his or her Master cuts off the braid with a lightsaber. Luke hinted that maybe the Jedi Academy could adopt this custom.

    No, I don't think so.

    First of all, I'm not going to wear a braid that looks like the tail of a womp rat. (I am positive Kira would not approve). Second, when promoted to Jedi, I'm not going to let anyone near my head with a lightsaber. With my luck, Luke's lightsaber would be hovering centimeters from my head when his comlink suddenly buzzes loudly, startling him and slicing off my ear instead of the braid.

    No, I'll wear the cloak over my compression shirt and Beskar armor, but no rat tail haircut!

    Getting back to the story…we start hiking toward the settlement when we realize we walked right into a field of geysers. Thankfully, Luke has been training us on using the Force to shield us from danger and we manage to get through the area without becoming steamed Jedi.

    We met a man and Luke asked him for the location of Gantoris. We were told there was a horrible rockslide and Gantoris was working with the rescue crew. We offer to help and we're brought to the scene of the accident. There were dozens of people frantically pulling rocks out of a large pile. There was one man tossing boulders to the side like they were nothing. Luke turns to us and says, "That's him."

    I stare at the man. He looks older than Luke, but the harsh planet might have prematurely aged him. He has long black hair, which hung in a braid (he's already has his rat's tail). He had a broad and angular face, but something didn't look right with him. I try to focus on his face better and realize his eyebrows and eyelashes had been plucked away. It gave him a very unsettling look.

    A soft muffled cry for help was heard underneath the rubble, causing the settlers to immediately intensify their efforts. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and give a hand but Luke had a better idea. He let his arms fall to his side, his head fell back and I could see his eyes roll back in deep concentration. There were screams of surprise as boulders and rocks suddenly leapt up into the air and moved to the back part of the tunnel. I could see Mara reach out her hand and with an equal look of concentration start doing the same.

    I practiced this technique, but not perfected it yet. I am a little nervous about dropping a boulder on someone's head. Mara must have sensed my unease and whispered to me, "Mark help draw the Force to me, like we did over Byss."

    I nod and put my hand on her shoulder and concentrate on pulling the Force towards her. I think it worked because the movement of the boulders became quicker and more precise. Eventually our efforts exposed two bodies. One was a young boy who was deceased and a girl who was battered but alive.

    Luke and Mara still had their eyes closed in intense concentration when I saw the dark haired man stalking toward us with anger burning in his eyes. I let go of Mara's shoulder and placed my hand on my blaster, just in case.

    When Luke and Mara finally relaxed and opened their eyes they found a very irate Gantoris standing in front of them. "Why are you here? Who are you?"

    Luke explained to him that he was Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight and he was forming a Jedi Academy and he wanted Gantoris to become a student.

    Gantoris glared at Luke. "I have dreamed of you. A dark man who offers me incredible secrets, then destroys me. I am lost if I go with you. You are a demon!" He then tried to get the settlers to restrain Luke. I don't know what this guy's problem is, but nobody is going to touch Luke on my watch.

    I push my way between Luke and the dark haired man. "Look buddy, if you touch my friend the dark man with be the least of your troubles. You'll have to deal with the red man," referring to my red hair. Stang, that's a bad nickname also. I am going to have to come up with something cool…like the crimson warrior! That sounds intimidating. And that's exactly what I want to do…intimidate this jerk. I move closer until I tower over him, but to my surprise he doesn't even flinch.

    I feel Luke's hand on my shoulder. "It's alright Mark, I'll go with him. You can't expect people to drop everything and follow me at my word. Sometimes it takes some convincing that our intentions are honorable."

    I frown but then nodded, "alright."

    Personally, if Luke levitating huge boulders to save a child's life wasn't proof enough of his good will, then I don't know what will convince this Gantoris fellow. We follow behind Luke and are taken to a rundown storage container with a dirt floor and blankets to spend the night. Luke is taking this all in stride, but Mara and I don't have Luke's Jedi patience.

    "Who does he think he is?" she fumed. In the distance we could hear the geyser field going off and a cloud of steam poured into the storage container making it a virtual sweatbox. Mara pulled off her cloak in the oppressive heat. I looked at her and started laughing. She glared at me. "What?"

    I chuckled again and shook my head. "Your hair."

    She gave me a confused look and then put her hands to her head. At that point she realized all the steam had caused her beautiful red locks to frizz up. "Oh this is just great. I should have braided it before we landed."

    Luke smiled. "You look beautiful." He gazes at Mara with a look of love and longing.

    I groaned. "Do you want me to leave? I know it is a dirt floor but I am sure you two have mastered erotic levitation by now."

    "Mark!" Mara almost snarled at me.

    Opps, I think I hit a nerve.

    "I'm just joking." I apologize while keeping an eye on Luke. I noticed he wouldn't look in my direction. Ha Ha! Bullseye! Eventually we lean against the walls of the makeshift shelter and fall asleep.

    Gantoris and his entourage of craggily faced companions woke us up in the morning. "Come with me," he said motioning towards Luke. When Mara and I stood up he scowled at us and said, "The dark man only." I was about to protest, but Luke waved for us to sit down.

    I could feel Mara's unease as they left. She absolutely didn't want Luke to go off alone, but at the same time she wanted to show him that she trusted his judgment and him as a Master. I know it is hard for her knowing he may be walking into a trap. I reached over and patted her knee. "If we feel any panic or danger from Luke in the Force, we're going in!"

    She nodded, but didn't say anything. We sat there with our backs to the wall and waited.




    We didn't have to wait long before we felt a spike of panic from Luke before he quickly regained his customary Jedi control. Mara and I both jumped to our feet. We didn't need to ask where Luke was located…he burned like a beacon in the Force. We followed Luke's Force signature until we ended up in a large cavern filled with a lake of scalding lava. To the left of us along a rock outcrop was a group of men. On the far side of the lava chamber Luke and Gantoris stood.

    Gantoris raised his voice so it could be heard across the chamber. "Walk across the fire, dark man. If you reach the other side safely I will allow you to teach me whatever you wish." With that said Gantoris backed up and disappeared into a lava tube.

    I shook my head. "Luke can't be considering this?" I looked over to Mara who stared at Luke with wide eyes. "Mara, we have to stop him."

    "No," she said softly. "He can do this."

    I scoffed. "He can walk on Lava?" I shook my head then muttered under my breath, "I bet his Dad wished he had that particular skill."

    Mara turned to me confused. "What did you say?"

    Damn, that was another one of Palpatine's memories that popped into my head. "Nothing…I'll tell you later."

    She turned back to Luke and I could see her concentrating; she's sending her strength in the Force to Skywalker. Luke had an intense expression on his face as he took his first step…and he was fine. I expected him to burst into flames, but he stood firm, step-by-step as he moved out to the center of the boiling lake of lava.

    I see movement in the corner of my eye and notice Gantoris was now on our side of the cavern and standing with his companions. Obviously there was a cooled lava tube that led to this side. I gave the dark-haired man a dirty look. I didn't like this guy. He came off as a narcissistic, power hungry jerk.

    Luke was making his way across the lava when suddenly there was an upward plume of magma from the center of the lake.

    "What the…" I said in shock as a massive serpent-like creature shot up out of the lava and attacked Luke.

    "Oh hell no!" I gasped in disbelief. "You gotta be frak'n kidding me!"

    It's bad enough that Luke has to walk across lava for this no-eyebrow kriffhead, but there's a lava dragon inside the lake?

    Luke is trying to fend off this monster with his lightsaber while trying not to fall into the molten lava. When his cloak caught on fire I was done with this test. I pull out my blaster and put a couple holes into the creature. I then set my blaster for stun and shot Gantoris and his men. Their look of anger turned to shock as they dropped hard to the rock floor. Mara glared at me for only a second but then turned back to concentrating on Luke.

    When I looked back the monster was bobbing in the lava with magma pouring into the blaster wounds. Luke was almost glowing with the Force as he moved across the molten rock…the actual lava…not stepping stones at the surface. HE WAS WALKING ON LAVA! Mara and I stared at him slack jawed as he moved the last few feet and stepped onto the rocks in front of us.

    Luke looked over to the stunned settlers. "Mark, I had it under control."

    I gave a stuttered laugh. "Luke, you were on fire, standing in lava and getting attacked by a kriff'n Lava dragon…excuse me if I overreacted!"

    I thought Mara would yell at him for pulling such a dangerous stunt, but she just wrapped him up in a fierce hug. I could have sworn she was crying. Eventually they broke apart and I could see her wipe a tear from her cheek. Luke leaned in and kissed her softly and muttered something that sounded like, "I'm sorry I scared you."

    "Luke," Mara said as she motioned her head toward Gantoris. "That slimesucker has dark side written all over him."

    Luke's brow furrowed. "What are you suggesting?"

    Mara rocked back on her heals and crossed her arms across her chest. "What I am suggesting is we leave Gantoris here, go back to the Jade Shadow, and from orbit call in an evacuation of the colony. Then we go back to Coruscant…without him!"

    Luke shook his head in disbelief. "How will I find Jedi?"

    "Put a 'Help Wanted' sign up on the Academy," she suggested.

    I had to laugh. It sounded like a joke, but it made sense. There had to be thousands of people with Force potential in the galaxy. Luke could simply have the New Republic put the word out that he was looking for Jedi.

    "We'd have every Jedi-wannabe on our doorstep." Luke protested.

    I don't want to appear disrespectful or question Luke's judgment, but there has been a question pressing on my mind during this entire search-for-Jedi mission. "Luke, why don't we just get your students from the Ysanna tribe on Ossus? There are dozens of Force strong men and women there."

    He gave me a stiff nod. "I could, but I was hoping to have a Jedi order that was more representative of the galaxy. I want Jedi from all species and from all worlds."

    I should have known that Luke had a plan and it's smart thinking. If all of his Jedi were human, Luke's enemies could accuse the Jedi of Humanocentrism beliefs and discrimination against non-humans. But there had to be a better way to find Jedi on the various worlds.

    "I have a suggestion," I said to Luke. "You could get recruits the same way the NR Fleet Academy takes on new cadets. Potential candidates first need a letter of recommendation from a local official…in this case saying they have Force potential. These recommendations go to the planet's Senator who is allowed to nominate a set number of Jedi cadets. Those nominations come to the academy and we weed down the list to the best of the best. You send out conditional acceptance letters and have the new recruits report. We check to see if they have enough Force sensitivity, have them go though medical and psychological screening and then maybe they're accepted."

    Luke looked at me suspiciously. "It sounds like you have been thinking about this for some time."

    I gave him a rueful look. "Not really. Kira's brother Jaycen was thinking about applying to the New Republic Defense Fleet Academy. He explained the application process to me. I just thought it would be a good way to pick applicants."

    Luke sighed. "That might work." He turned and looked back at Gantoris lying unconscious on the rocky outcrop.

    I suddenly felt ashamed for my actions. If Luke still wanted that man as a student I pretty much screwed up that plan. I still think the guy was bad news…but Luke always sees the best in people. He saw the light in his father despite his evil deeds and Mara said Luke always saw the good in her…even when she was holding him at blaster point and threatening to kill him.

    Luke took a few steps toward Gantoris and then shook his head. "He was a sleemo, wasn't he?"

    Mara gave a bemused laugh. "I was going to suggest some harsher expletives, but sleemo works." She walked over and kissed Luke then said in a sultry voice. "I have to tell you, seeing you walk across lava was a real turn on."

    I groaned and walked away.

    I heard Luke laughing behind me. "What's wrong Mark, don't you want to learn how to walk on lava? It's not quite erotic levitation but it is the same principle."

    I hold up my hand and give him a rude gesture, which just resulted in more laughter.

    I hate to admit it, but Luke walking across the lava was pretty damn impressive.
  25. Hazel

    Hazel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 9, 2010
    *hisses at the Callista era*

    Walking on lava is pretty damn impressive in any book.