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Saga - OT Journey into Darkness: Rebels AU (Ezra, Sabine, Rex)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Vialco, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Journey into Darkness
    Synopsis: What if Kanan never found out about the Sith Holocron and Ezra continued to learn from it? How far can good intentions carry dark methods?

    “They would never have succeeded without me. Don’t they know that?”

    “Your anger gives you strength. Gives you focus. You can see things clearly, your friends cannot. Now, what else do you desire?”

    “They can’t see. If they can’t see, I must become stronger, more powerful. I will never let my friends get hurt again.”

    Prologue

    Dusk had come to Atollon. The planet’s sun was sinking swiftly beneath the horizon, with only a sliver of light still visible in the sky. A cool wind blew across the dry landscape, swirls of dust and sand visible across the flat plains that surrounded Chopper Base on all sides.

    Standing on one of the dead coral outcroppings that housed Chopper Base, a young man stared out at the darkening sky, his mind filled concerns and fears. About average height for a human male, the boy’s most distinguishing feature was his dark blue hair, a rare color among his species. Once long and wavy, the blue locks had been cropped short in a neat military-style cut that stretched only a few inches from the young man’s skull. His bright eyes matched his hair and as they watched the last rays of the sun vanish beneath the skyline, they narrowed.

    The young man let out a single breath and squared his shoulders, standing up straight. His name was Ezra Bridger, son of Ephraim and Mira Bridger, and he was a Rebel. But he was more than just a rank-and-file soldier. He was now a Lieutenant Commander in the Phoenix Squadron. Even more than that though, he was a Jedi. Or, at least, he amended, a Jedi Padawan.

    His bare fingers grazed the hilt of the lightsaber that hung from his utility belt. Black-cased with silver highlights the weapon was a more standard design than his first one. He had forged the weapon in the first few weeks after Malachor. Fresh from the loss of Ahsoka and Kanan’s blinding, Ezra had found refuge in the construction of a new weapon. He had fortunate enough to have snatched up the Kyber crystal from the wreckage of his first lightsaber after his humiliatingly brief duel with Darth Vader.

    Ezra shivered a bit at the memory of facing down the Dark Lord of the Sith and the sheer ease at which Vader had disarmed him. His right hand curled into a fist at the recollection of lying on the floor of the Sith Temple, facing down the imposing Dark Lord, completely powerless.

    Your anger gives you strength.

    The Sith Holocron he had retrieved from the Temple came to his mind. The only thing he and Kanan truly had to show for their failed mission to the Sith planet, Ezra had hidden the object from his absent Master, claiming that he had stashed the Dark Side artifact away. But that had been a bald-faced lie, one his traumatized Master had not seen through, too preoccupied with his own injuries and loss.

    Thinking of Kanan’s perpetual absence reminded Ezra why he’d come up to the high reaches of the mesa to be alone with his thoughts. He’d been promoted earlier in the day and would be leaving in the morning on his first mission as Lieutenant Commander. He felt the weight of command settle heavily on his young shoulders and for a moment he wanted to run away from everything. Just dash off into the desert and leave the Rebellion, the Jedi and Sith, all of it behind. In a way, he was still just a kid, seventeen and afraid of assuming such responsibility.

    The cold wind picked up, blowing dust past Ezra, the cool air biting at his bare skin. He clenched his jaw against the gale and balled his fists.

    Embrace your anger. Feel it, hold it. Let it fill you. Concentrate on it and only it. Your anger gives you focus!

    The words of the Sith Holocron flashed through his mind, the raspy voice of the Presence worming its way into his thoughts. Staring out at the shadow-engulfed desert, Ezra squeezed his fists even tighter and felt his anger growing. Anger towards the Empire for taking his parents, hate for Darth Vader and his humiliation of Ezra. Coming to a decision, the young man spun on his heel and strode away from the ledge, heading down towards the landing pad far below.

    Chopper Base was eerily quiet at this late hour. Most of Phoenix Squadron were fast asleep in their various bunks either in the base’s limited living space or on the various spacecraft berthed outside. The few members that weren’t asleep were ensconced in the command center, monitoring sensors and communications. Ezra didn’t encounter a single being on his short walk from the upper reaches of the mesa to the wide, flat section of the mesa that served Chopper Base as a landing field.

    Only a handful of vessels were berthed there at the moment, with a pair of large CR90 Blockade Runners sitting at opposite ends of the field. Berthed directly between them was the VCX-100 light freighter that Ezra had come to call home over the last two years. The Ghost’s landing ramp was down as it always was when Hera didn’t see Ezra in his bunk after nightfall. A faint smile graced the young man’s face at the small, but affectionate gesture. His new family did care about him when it came down to it.

    The smile swiftly faded. The fact that they cared about him meant he had to do his very best to protect them. His visage darkened with these thoughts, he hadn’t been able to save his parents from the Empire. He wouldn’t fail to save his new family.

    Boarding the ship, Ezra made his way to his cabin quietly. The room was empty as Zeb was hard at work in the command center, monitoring all the perimeter sensors. The Lasat took his duty as Chopper Base’s Chief Security Officer very seriously. Going up to his collection of Imperial helmets that lay on the right wall of the cabin, Ezra moved to take the center one, an Imperial Cadet bucket and paused.

    As always, the Sith Holocron somehow sensed his approach and the artifact came to life, crimson light emanating through the lenses of the helmet that concealed it from prying eyes. Lifting up the helmet and setting it aide, Ezra stared at the object that had been his teacher for the last six months. A small, fist-sized pyramid, the Sith Holocron was made of a strange translucent substance. Capped at the edges by gold, triangles that were rotated to odd angles, the entire device glowed with an angry red light.

    Lifting the object, Ezra held it in his open palm and called on the rage he’d felt at the dark memories. With a dull flash of light, the object came to life, vibrating slightly in his hand.

    The Presence said nothing. But then it never spoke on its own, only responding to Ezra’s questions or statements.

    “I need more guidance,” the young man said, an edge in his voice.

    “What do you seek to accomplish?”

    The Presence spoke in distinctly female tone, it’s voice shifting in tenor and pitch with each word, almost as if it were multiple voices speaking as one.

    “I’ve been promoted,” Ezra replied, uneasiness creeping into his voice. It felt odd telling the Sith Holocron about what he felt was his best accomplishment.

    “Leadership can present many challenges” the Presence said, “Subordinates cannot always be trusted to obey their leaders.”

    Ezra frowned, “They’re not my subordinates, they’re my friends!”

    The Holocron glowed brighter, “They may be. But you are their commander. Your duty is to lead. Theirs is to follow.”

    “How do I do that,” Ezra asked, his doubts rising to the surface of his mind.

    “They didn’t listen to me during the last mission. They don’t take me seriously.”

    His voice grew louder with his anger, “They still think I’m just a kid! They don’t know what I’m really capable of!”

    “They don’t believe in your strength. Your wisdom.” The Presence’s voice was low and understanding.

    “How do I show them that I’m not just a kid anymore? How do I get them to believe in me?”

    “Power must be demonstrated. Wisdom must be displayed. Lesser beings only believe in what they can see.”

    The light of the Holocron began to dim, throwing the cabin into deeper shadow.

    “The Force can be used to show them your power. You can use it to persuade them to follow you.”

    The crimson light shone into Ezra’s wide blue eyes.

    “Tell me,” he demanded eagerly, “Tell me how to convince them.”

    “Listen carefully,” the Presence said sibilantly, it’s voice radiating power and wisdom.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Yay, a Rebels fic! [face_dancing] And it's off to a great start. :ezra:

    Ezra's brush with the dark side via the said Sith holocron on Malachor was chilling, but in this situation, he's definitely on a slippery slope! And the combination of those descriptions of how he looks now and how calm he seems to be regardless of what is going on are kind of worrying, too. Looks like he *knows* what he's doing. Either that or the holocron is controlled by some very, very unusual gatekeeper!
     
  3. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Thank you! I always wanted to see how far Ezra would be willing to go to achieve his goals, without his mentors there to guide him. It's a common theme of the Hero's Journey, where the mentor figure vanishes for a time, allowing the hero to make his own decisions, without anyone to guide him, and then living with the consequences. The slope Ezra's on is indeed a slippery one, but it's a long way down. Very good catch there, Ezra certainly "thinks" he knows what he's doing. But whether he actually does is yet to be seen. Glad you liked it! Next chapter's coming up here.
     
  4. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Chapter One


    The Phantom reverted from hyperspace with a violent shudder, the blue-white lines of hyperspace dissolving away into the black void of realspace. Standing behind Sabine who sat in the small shuttle’s pilot seat, Ezra stared out the void, looking for any enemy craft.


    Behind him, in the shuttle’s cramped passenger compartment sat Rex, Zeb and Hondo Ohnaka. The leathery-faced Weequay had given them the intelligence that had prompted this mission to the Yarma System. Ezra didn’t like that they had to detour through Mining Guild territory to get to the Imperial Salvage Station in the heart of Yarma, but there was no other way to reach the remote planet.


    “Okay Chopper, you’re up,” Sabine said in a strident tone, “Program those coordinates before…”


    The comm crackled to life and a gruff voice sounded through the cockpit speakers.


    “Attention shuttlecraft, you are trespassing on a mining guild claim zone. Identify yourself, state your business.”


    Stationed up in the Phantom’s droid socket, C1-10P gave a worried warble. Glancing at the rear displays, Ezra saw a sleek transport ship approaching, flanked by a pair of TIE Fighter, all three ships painted in a familiar yellow that Ezra remembered from their encounter with the Purgill nearly a year ago.


    “State your purpose,” the gruff voice repeated as the TIE Fighters slid to either side of the Phantom.


    A cold jolt of apprehension ran through Ezra, and he quickly activated the comm.


    “Please excuse the intrusion, Captain,” he said smoothly, “We’ll be on our way as soon as we calculate our hyperspace jump.”


    “We’ll not authorize any such jump,” the Mining Guild Captain replied, “Until you’ve registered with the Empire and paid the hyperspace toll. Prepare to transfer credits.”



    Ezra scowled at the comm, then turned to glance at the flanking TIE’s.


    “If you do not slow your speed, we will open fire,” the Captain said in obvious threat.


    An angry look on his face, Ezra turned to Sabine.


    “Sabine, get us out of here!”


    The Mandalorian girl responded by jerking controls sharply to starboard and Ezra gripped the back of the pilot’s seat tightly, struggling to keep his balance. The Phantom jerked from side to side as the TIE’s opened fire, spitting green lances of lethal energy.


    Dodging another salvo, Sabine yanked back on the throttle and the shuttle shot forward in a burst of speed. Gunning their own engines, the two TIE Fighters raced after it, their weapons spewing a steady barrage of laserfire.


    “An Imperial Prison is bad,” Hondo lamented, “But where the Mining Guild will send us is worse!”


    Ezra rolled his eyes at Hondo’s remark, he had a strong hunch that the Mining Guild wasn’t trying to take them alive at all. But the young man had a soft spot for the old pirate. Hondo never expected much from Ezra and always had a warm laugh and an amusing joke for him.


    “Hang on,” Sabine declared and jinked the shuttle side to side, narrowly avoiding the TIE’s shots. As she did, Chopper maneuvered the tail gun deftly and unleashed a flurry of potshots at the pursuing starfighters. One of the TIE’s caught a trio of bolts straight in the cockpit and exploded into an expanding ball of particles.


    The other TIE managed to evade the return fire and continued to fire on the Phantom.


    “Brace yourselves!”


    Ezra saw Sabine grit her teeth in exertion, and then the entire ship shuddered as the throttle cut out and the craft decelerated rapidly. The yellow-painted TIE raced ahead of them and Sabine thumbed the trigger, sending a quick burst of twin laser bolts at the enemy ship from the Phantom’s forward dual cannons. The first shot missed the TIE narrowly, but the next two hit it dead on and turned it into another ball of exploding gases and metal.


    “Chopper, we’re clear,” Sabine said with a note of satisfaction in her voice, “Charge the hyperdrive.”


    “Wait!” Ezra said with authority, “We’re not leaving any witnesses that can contact the Empire. Turn us around, we’re taking out that transport.”


    Sabine frowned and gave Ezra a hard stare.


    “That’s not our mission, Ezra. Besides, they probably already have.”


    Rex chimed in from the rear of the shuttle, “She’s right, Lieutenant. The important thing to do is proceed as planned.”


    “No!” Ezra replied, his youthful face blotching with anger.


    “I’m in charge of this mission, and I say we’re not leaving witnesses that can give us away to the enemy.”


    He glared directly at Sabine, matching her stern gaze with a durasteel stare.


    “Take out that transport, Sabine.”


    When the Mandalorian girl didn’t reply, Ezra narrowed his eyes and called on the Force, summoning the invisible energy to him with his anger. Feeling the power flow through him, he spoke again, letting the Force enter his words as the Sith Holocron had taught him.


    “That’s an order, Sabine. Take out that transport. Now!”


    He all but shouted the last word, pushing the invisible power of the Force into his command at the same time, demanding that the great energy persuade his comrades to obey him.


    For a moment, Sabine looked like she was going to argue with him, her almond-brown eyes hardening at Ezra’s sharp command.


    Then she nodded her head microscopically, “Yes, sir,” she acquiesced, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.


    Jerking the controls, she wheeled the starship around and pushed the throttle hard, rocketing straight towards the sleek mining transport.


    As the sleek transport grew swiftly larger in the viewport, Ezra glanced down at Sabine, expecting her to open fire on the command ship as she had on the TIE’s. But Sabine’s hands remained on the yoke and her gaze was focused on the looming freighter.


    “What are you waiting for?” Ezra asked impatiently, “Open fire! That’s an order!”


    “Cool it, Lieutenant,” Sabine retorted, “Can’t you see that they’re unarmed?”


    Ezra frowned and he looked down at the technical readout of the enemy ship. His eyes widened as he saw that Sabine was right. The Mining Guild freighter didn’t have so much as a single laser cannon on it’s hull.


    “Karabast!” the young man shouted, anger suffusing the expletive.


    “We still can’t let them transmit to the Empire,” he continued.


    Sabine actually turned away from the controls to glare at Ezra, anger visible in her eyes as well.


    “I am not firing on an unarmed ship, Ezra. I don’t care what your rank is.”


    Ezra’s eyes widened in shock at the outright insubordination.


    “Fine, if you won’t do it, I’ll do it myself.” He moved to grab Sabine by the arm and yank her out of the pilot’s seat when Rex called out.


    “Just disable their communications!”


    Ezra spun to face the aging clone Captain. Rex was staring at them both with a look of annoyance on his face.


    “I flew one of those ships back in the Clone Wars,” Rex continued, “Their long-range transmitter is mounted on the rear section of the upper hull. Take it out and they can’t transmit to the Empire.”


    Ezra pondered the Captain’s suggestion for a brief second and then nodded to him.


    “Okay, Sabine, take out their communications.”


    “Yes, Lieutenant,” the young woman bit out, her tone dripping with sarcasm. The Mandalorian girl’s fingers flew over the weapons controls and the targeting reticle appeared on the main console’s viewscreen. Her eyes darted over the vessel’s exterior and she let out an angry breath.


    “There’s no antennae, Rex!”


    Ezra didn’t bother looking at the display and instead stared out the viewport, running his gaze over the Mining Guild starship. A single long rectangle of a ship with a smaller rectangular thruster pod mounted on each side of the vessel, all painted the same acid yellow as the destroyed TIE’s. His blue eyes narrowed as he focused on the upper hull of the vessel and then they widened as he spotted what he was looking for.


    Mounted at the very end of the ship, a small transmission antenna was mounted, the circular dish rotating slowly as it prepared to send a message.


    “There!” Ezra shouted, his finger jabbing at the viewport.


    “The communications transmitter’s mounted at the very end of the dorsal hull, Sabine. Take it out!”


    The Mandalorian pilot frowned but complied with the order without comment, turning the Phantom sharply to starboard to bring the cannons to bear. With a quick squeeze of the trigger, she sent a series of high-powered crimson laser bolts flying towards the target. The first two salvos struck the ship and winked out of existence, absorbed by the vessel’s shields, but the third blast hit the weakened shields and blew the comm antenna clean off the freighter.


    “Yes!” Ezra shouted, pumping his fist in exultation.


    “Good job, Sabine!”


    The violet-haired girl gave him a cold glare and turned back to her controls, bringing the Phantom back around towards the system’s exit point.


    “Hyperspace, here we come.”


    The stars blurred into starlines and the shuttle vanished into the blue-white vortex of hyperspace.
     
  5. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Count me in as another who's glad to see some Rebels fanfic! This is off to a really intriguing start! Ezra is my favorite of the Rebels and I think you've done a great job capturing his thoughts and emotions here. He's motivated by all the right things--a love for his family, a desire to keep them safe--but that desire pulls him in the wrong direction. He's listening to all his regrets and, with Kanan being distant and preoccupied, he's trying to rely on himself instead of turning to his family or the Force: if only I were stronger, if only they'd listen to me. How do I show them? How do I convince them? This focus on himself, his own abilities and strength is not the Jedi way, and as you and @Ewok Poet note, it's leading him down a slippery, dangerous path.

    I love this part:
    This captures both the Rebels' relationships (dear Hera, always Space!Mom :hera:) and Ezra's feelings so perfectly. =D=

    Also, love how the eerie atmosphere of Chopper Base at night underscores Ezra's troubled thoughts.

    ETA: Wow! A new chapter since I posted! Catching up! :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb characterization and action. If you've captured the notice of our superbly talented Rebels authors, then =D= you've definitely garnered mine as well. @};- :)

    Ezra definitely is listening to the wrong "voice". [face_worried] Hopefully the "slippery slope" won't drag him clear to the bottom. [face_nail_biting]

    Happy to see Rex in the mix as well. :cool:
     
  7. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Chapter Two

    The Phantom reverted to realspace with a sudden jolt. Looming ahead was the yellow-grey gaseous body that was the planet Yarma.

    “No Imperial traffic on the scopes,” Sabine said, her tone wary, “But no sign of the station either.”

    “It is down there, my friends,” Hondo said from the rear of the ship, his rich voice filled with confidence, “And those ships are ripe for plunder.”

    Ezra gave his friend a brief, reassuring grin. He believed Hondo, regardless of what his other friends said. The pirate had never let him down.

    Sabine gave the old Weequay a mistrustful look.

    “There’s no telling what we’re flying into,” she complained.

    “Let’s find out,” Ezra replied, his voice stern with command, “Take us down.”

    Sabine complied and the Phantom descended into the grey clouds that enveloped the entire planet. The shuttle coasted through the atmosphere slowly and Sabine kept a firm grip on the yoke through the thick, obscuring gasses.

    After a few minutes of smooth flying, a large, spherical metal object appeared in the distance. Crudely designed, the lower half of the station was skeletal and a long, narrow platform extruded from it’s equator.

    “There it is,” Sabine exclaimed, “Reklam Station!”

    Ezra took in the sight as the station grew steadily larger in the viewport.

    “Chopper,” he called up to the astromech, “Get a headcount on those bombers.”

    The droid warbled a curt response and a moment later a hologram of the station came up from the main console. The image focused on the extended platform, which was carrying a number of starfighters, all resting on the platform’s conveyer belt which led to a large boxy construct that sat at the very end.

    “Y-Wing light bombers,” Ezra said in recognition, having seen the fighters in historical vids when he was growing up on Lothal.

    “Looks like they’re in decent shape too,” he added, a note of optimism coming to his voice.

    Sabine glanced at the display with concern, “Yeah but according to Chopper’s scan there are only fifteen left.”

    The conveyer in the blue hologram abruptly moved, sending the furthest Y-Wing into the boxy construct at the end of the conveyor belt.

    Sabine’s eyes widened, “Correction, there are only fourteen left.” She zoomed in on the boxy construct which appeared to be an incinerator of sorts.

    “Looks like they’re being destroyed!”

    Fear ran through Ezra like ice water in his veins. This mission would be for nothing if he didn’t do something fast.

    “We have to act now,” he declared, “There won’t be any ships left if we wait!”

    “Hold on,” Zeb said in alarm, “Our orders are to recon the station, not go after ships!”

    Rex stepped forward from the rear of the shuttle, a stern look on his face.

    “We should advise Captain Syndulla,” he said in a cautious tone.

    “What if the Empire detects our transmission?” Ezra replied, his fear bleeding into his voice.

    “I was given command of this assignment, I know what the objective was.”

    He took a deep breath, suddenly feeling an immense pressure on his being. Taking another breath, he remembered the Sith Holocron’s teachings.

    Your fear is only useful if you control it. Do not let it control you.

    “But I’m in command and I am changing it.”

    He took a step forward and looked Rex right in the eye, deep blue orbs meeting pale yellow ones.

    “We’re going in now. That’s an order!”

    The aged captain narrowed his eyes but said nothing. In the back of the shuttle, both Hondo and Zeb shifted uneasily. Ezra felt a stirring of uneasiness himself, but shoved it aside. He was in command and he would succeed. Turning back to the viewport, he put a hand on the back of the pilot’s chair and leaned forward, a determined look emblazoned on his youthful features.

    “Yes, sir,” Sabine said warily and pushed on the throttle, rocketing towards the station.

    “Hurry!” Ezra demanded, “We’re losing ships!”

    Sabine scowled at him, “Well Lieutenant, what’s you’re plan for getting them out of there?”

    Ezra was about to respond, when he felt a surge of warning in the Force.

    “Turn left, now!” he shouted.

    To Sabine’s credit, she obeyed without question and jerked the Phantom hard to the left. A moment later, a large, orange domed object appeared in the immediate horizon. Floating motionless in the atmosphere, it narrowly missed hitting the Phantom as the ship zoomed by.

    “What was that?” Zeb asked gruffly.

    “Don’t know, don’t care,” Ezra replied sharply, “It’s not coming after us. Focus on getting us to that station, Sabine!”

    “We still haven’t heard your plan to get them out,” Sabine bit back.

    Ezra paused for a moment and considered the small hologram closely.

    “Rex, Chopper,” he inquired in a more measured tone, “Can those ships be flown remotely?”

    There was a momentary silence, and then Rex spoke up, “They can be slaved to a single control circuit, but at least one of them has to be flown by a real pilot.”

    Chopper beeped an affirmative and Ezra thought for a moment.

    “Once we shut down the conveyor, we’ll have to link all the Y-Wings together. Then, I’ll fly the lead fighter out of here and the others will follow us.”

    Sabine gave him an impressed look, “Not bad, Lieutenant.”

    “Don’t forget that those ships will be running on empty,” Zeb remarked, “We’ll have to fuel them up before we take them anywhere.”

    Ezra growled in frustration, but said nothing, his mind focusing on the task at hand, reining in his anger.

    Sabine brought the Phantom in close and magnetically locked onto the underside of the conveyor platform without incident. All five of the crew scrambled out of the shuttle onto the platform and were quickly joined by Chopper who flew out of his droid socket and landed beside Ezra, his booster rocket flaring.

    As he landed, the conveyor moved forward again, reducing the number of intact Y-Wings to thirteen.

    “Chopper, shut down that conveyor,” Ezra shouted.

    The astromech beeped rudely and activated his rocket again, flying towards an input console mounted on a high podium atop the main platform. Extending his interface arm, the orange droid quickly sliced into the Imperial network. He warbled loudly in triumph and the conveyor abruptly came to a halt.

    A brief grin crossed Ezra’s face and he turned to his crew.

    “Everyone, grab a fuel pump and start filling up these bombers.”

    Zeb, Sabine and Rex quickly sprang into action, but Hondo remained for a moment, regarding Ezra fondly.

    “You are becoming such a forceful person Ezra!”

    He clapped the young man on the shoulder warmly, “I like that. It is good for business.”

    Laughing heartily, Hondo swept off to help the others with refueling.

    Beaming at Hondo’s praise, Ezra turned to Chopper, who was still on the platform.

    “Chopper, get down here. I need you to start slaving those Y-Wing’s control circuits together.”
     
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Vialco -- I love the complexity you are giving to Ezra.
    =D=

    I admire his resourcefulness and quick thinking; when unexpected details come up, you do have to be decisive but you cannot order others around without cause and not listen to those who are older and wiser. [face_thinking]

    The momentary feeling of unease Ezra had-- he should've paid attention to that, if not in the heat of needed action but in general. [face_worried]

    His plan overall does sound like a good one. Perhaps of blend of notifying Hera and taking the steps he did although if she told him to hold off -- :p -- I'm pretty sure he'd go ahead anyway.
     
    Ewok Poet and AzureAngel2 like this.
  9. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Like your AU Ezra even though he is walking down a dark, dark path. One can notice that in his daily interaction with others already:

    “Take out that transport, Sabine.”


    When the Mandalorian girl didn’t reply, Ezra narrowed his eyes and called on the Force, summoning the invisible energy to him with his anger. Feeling the power flow through him, he spoke again, letting the Force enter his words as the Sith Holocron had taught him.


    “That’s an order, Sabine. Take out that transport. Now!”

    Glad I found this fic.
     
  10. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you noticed those subtle things, I try to adhere to the "show, not tell" rule of writing as much as I can. Glad to see it's working. The dark path Ezra's on will continue, but I plan to stay true to the core of his character.
     
  11. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Nice work, I haven't seen so many episodes of Rebels but I can clearly recognize the personlities of both Ezra and Sabine. I like your writing style too, it's very visual.
     
  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Slow down. Please. Thanks. :)
     
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  13. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Thank you, I try my best to always paint a vivid picture for the reader. I believe that because books are a written medium, they should be able to describe a setting or situation well enough that the reader can visualize for themselves what's happening. Glad you liked it!

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  14. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Chapter Three
    “Well that’s the last of them” Sabine said, her voice slightly muffled through her helmet.

    “Yep,” Zeb agreed, “We’re all fuelled up.”

    “Ezra,” Rex asked, “Are the bombers ready to fly?”

    Ezra looked up from where he was kneeling beside Chopper, the orange astromech droid plugged into the Y-Wing at the far end of the platform.

    “All set,” he replied, his blue eyes shining with intense focus.

    He glanced at his team, “Everyone, get back to the Phantom. I’ll pilot the lead Y-Wing and Chopper will remote pilot the others out with us. Once we get out of the planet’s atmosphere, we’ll make for Chopper Base.”

    As the others began to move, a loud clanging sound echoed across the platform and metal clamps flipped up off the underside of the platform and snapped onto each of the Y-Wings, locking every one of the battered old starfighters into place.

    Ezra gaped open-mouthed and then whirled on Chopper.

    “Unlock those bombers!” he shouted irately. “Right now!”

    Chopper rocketed over to the platform terminal and plugged into the terminal. After a few moments, the astromech blatted negatively.

    “He says that all conveyor controls are locked down,” Sabine translated for the others.

    Ezra groaned in exasperation, “So unlock them!”

    Chopper blatted another remark and Sabine sighed as well.

    “He says that all controls have been overridden from the control tower.”

    She pointed at the monolithic sphere of a station, indicating a wide, curving bank of windows near the top.

    Ezra’s face grew dark with anger.

    “Fine,” he said heavily, “Sabine, you and Rex stay here with the Y-Wings. As soon as I get the mag-clamps unlocked, you get the bombers flying. Zeb, you stay with the Phantom in case we need a quick getaway.”

    He turned to Hondo, “Hondo, you know the most about this station. You come with me and help me find the control center.”

    The Weequay laughed merrily, “Yes, of course partner. Let’s go!”

    Ezra’s dark expression lightened. He could always count on his friend.

    The young man dashed off down the long platform towards the main station, Hondo keeping surprisingly well for such an old man.

    Passing through a short tunnel, the Rebel and the Pirate reached a tall bulkhead leading up to the main station. The only way up from the platform was a small, metal ladder. As Hondo moved towards the ladder, Ezra put a hand on the Weequay’s shoulder.

    “Hold on,” Ezra cautioned, “Let me go first.”

    Standing a few meters before the ladder, he concentrated for a moment, summoning his rage.

    Do not let your rage be your chain. Uncontrolled rage will transform you into a raving monster. You must reserve your anger for times when you can profit from it.

    Reaching back into his mind, Ezra recalled his most enraging memories.

    Kanan’s weary figure, his face covered by an old tarnished mask, concealing the evidence of Maul’s treachery.

    Ahsoka, her last act to Force push him out of the Temple, leaving her trapped in the Sith Temple with Vader.

    His parents, cringing back in their cell from the Imperial stormtroopers.


    Anger burned in his heart like a roiling furnace. Seizing that rage, Ezra tapped into the Force, calling to the great energy that suffused all life, pulling it into him. He felt more alive than he ever had, with sheer raw power running through his veins like electricity. He felt powerful, invincible. He could do anything.

    Conveying the power into his legs, supercharging his muscles, Ezra leapt upwards with all his strength. The ground grew far away beneath his feet and he quickly realized that he’d underestimated the power he’d channeled. He shot six meters above the top of the bulkhead, and quickly twisted his body in a forward somersault as Kanan had taught him.

    The motion carried him through the air, and as he plummeted back downwards, he came out of the somersault to land in a crouch, sending a pulse of Force power into the deck to cushion his landing. Coming to his feet in a single swift motion, Ezra dashed forward into the main hangar of the station. Rushing at him from the opposite direction came a squad of four white-armored stormtroopers, their black E-11 blaster rifles raised and aimed directly at him.

    Quickening his pace, Ezra snatched his lightsaber off his belt and gripping the weapon in a firm two-handed grip, ignited the blade with a snap-hiss. A brilliant, solid beam of emerald energy sprouted from the weapon’s hilt, humming with controlled power.

    Coming into range, the stormtroopers opened fire rapidly, sending a flurry of crimson blaster bolts at the young Jedi. Sweeping his blade up, Ezra wove the shining emerald sword in a blindingly fast set of parries, settling into the Soresu form of lightsaber combat that Kanan had taught him.

    Form III emphasized defense above all else, and in his two years of Jedi training, Ezra had grown quite adept at blaster deflection. The crimson packets of lethal energy bounced off the glowing blade and ricocheted back towards the troopers. Most of the rebounds missed the troopers narrowly, caroming off the deck or sailing up into the rafters the hangar. Spinning his blade, Ezra continued to deflect the oncoming barrages and with a twist of his wrists, sent a pair of scarlet bolts flying right back at the trooper that had fired them. Both shots hit him right in the chest, leaving a black smoking hole in the gleaming white armor and dropping him to the deck with a loud clatter.

    The three remaining stormtroopers hesitated for a single moment as their comrade fell, and in that moment Ezra moved. Deflecting another volley, the young Jedi charged ahead and leapt high, crossing the distance between himself and the troopers in a single swift bound. The armored soldiers shifted their aim hastily, but the Jedi moved too fast for them to react in time.

    Landing directly in front of one of the troopers, Ezra brought his lightsaber down in an overhand strike that split the soldier in half from crown to thigh. The struck trooper fell to the deck in two pieces and a sickly-sweet smell of charred flesh filled the room. Feeling momentarily nauseated, Ezra threw himself into another leap at the two remaining troopers who were firing continuously.

    Coming down beside the leftmost stormtrooper, Ezra swept his saber up in a lateral slash that tore through the man’s torso, dropping him to the floor. The last trooper locked his rifle on Ezra and opened fire unceasingly, sending a flurry of scarlet high-energy bolts at him. Twirling his blade one-handed, Ezra swatted the oncoming fire aside, blocking bolts that came at his torso and twisting easily out of the way of those that came close.

    Gathering the Force, Ezra thrust out his left hand and made a swiping motion, seizing the trooper’s rifle in a mental grip and tearing it from his black-gloved hands with all his strength. The weapon flew out of the man’s grip as if grabbed by an invisible hand and flew across the wide hangar, clattering to the deck a dozen meters away.

    The trooper took a step back, the Force reverberating with his shock as he raised his hands in a feeble defense. Narrowing his eyes in hatred, Ezra leapt forward and in a single fluid motion thrust his emerald lightsaber through the trooper’s chestplate, running him through. The soldier began to go slack and Ezra withdrew his weapon swiftly, letting the stormtrooper drop to the floor with a loud thud.

    For a moment, the only sound in the deserted hangar was the thrum of Ezra’s lightsaber. Then, a loud clapping sound began to echo from behind the young man. Ezra spun with preternatural speed to face the sound and then relaxed.

    Standing at the edge of the hangar was Hondo, the old pirate clapping his hands together, a look of amazement on his leathery features.

    “Well done, Ezra my boy!” the Weequay exclaimed.

    “I haven’t seen Jedi magic like that since the Clone Wars!”

    Dousing his lightsaber, Ezra grinned at his friend, embarrassed by his praise.

    “Thanks, Hondo,” he said warmly.

    Then his expression grew serious again, “Come on, we’ve got to get to the control room.”

    “Ah yes,” Hondo said, his face growing grave, “But I am an old man, Ezra. I cannot keep up with you all the way to the top.”

    His face grew pensive, “I will stay here in the hangar and slice into the Imperial schematics. Then, I can guide you right to the control tower!”

    Ezra considered it and then nodded.

    “Great, I’ll head up then.”

    With that, the young Jedi dashed across the hangar, heading for the far set of blast doors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
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  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    EZRA!! Wonderful, wonderful with Form III. =D= =D= The only worrying thing and it is a big one [face_worried] is what fuels/underlays the victory over adversaries.
     
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  16. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Exactly. That's key, because without the power of the Dark Side, Ezra would have to work very hard and train for years to find the focus needed to harness the Force at the level required to do what he's doing now. But the Dark Side is the path to quick and easy power, as Ezra's finding out. It's much like making a deal with the devil. He'll deliver on his end, but there's always a cost to what he's offering. I feel that Rebels didn't do a good job of showing that in the show, so I'm writing a different version of that.

    Though, there is one other thing that should worry you. It's a bit subtle though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Been meaning to catch up with this, and now I finally have. I too am always stoked to come across a good Rebels fic, and this by no means disappoints! Your characterization of Ezra is superb here; you manage to portray his growing fear and temptation—the beginning of his “journey into darkness”—in a way that is completely in character for him. In a way, he’s motivated by the exact same things as the “lighter” (as in, light side) Ezra of earlier in the series: a sense of family belonging and a strong urge to protect that family. But with the guidance of the Sith holocron and it’s Presence, he’s taking those things in a totally different direction, and there will almost certainly be repercussions. He has already skirted the dark side very closely by almost firing on that unarmed Mining Guild ship; it’s a good thing Rex jumped in when he did! And I’m pretty certain his sudden change of plans to steal all those Y-wings seems will have some serious consequences too; I’m a little concerned too at how willingly his crewmates seem to be going along with things... [face_worried]

    It’s always great fun to see Hondo, of course, and you’ve given him a very interesting role here. His vocal encouragement of Ezra—his praise of the young Jedi’s “forcefulness,” his congratulations to him after the fight with the stormtroopers—throws Ezra’s inner conflict into pretty strong relief. In a way, he’s the only one of the group who notices a change (of whatever sort) in Ezra, and yet—ironically—he’s also the one least well equipped to notice what’s really at work behind it. I kind of wonder what it will take for him to realize that it’s the Dark Side that’s working on Ezra, rather than any sort of increase in business sense or experience. Probably a lot, I fear! [face_nail_biting]

    An intriguing tale that’s off to a great start—I’m so looking forward to more! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. =D=
     
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  18. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Thank you for all those kind words. This whole story really started from a very basic premise.

    "Ezra was starting to go to a dark place at the start of Season Three but he was becoming more powerful and more interesting. How would his path have gone, if allowed to progress."

    That's pretty much what this story aims to explore, and tell the tale of the path not taken.

    I'm trying my best to portray Ezra as more serious while keeping in mind that he is only seventeen. I originally didn't have much for Hondo to do or say, as his Rebels incarnation isn't nearly as loquacious as his Clone Wars version. But I rewatched a few Hondo episodes from Clone Wars, particularly his interactions with Dooku and Maul, and then it flowed pretty naturally.

    Very good catch about the rest of the group not noticing Ezra's slide towards the Dark. Rebels always showed the other members of the Ghost crew as being pretty ignorant of the Force and its ways. So they don't see a real difference...yet.

    As for Ezra getting dark, you're right, he's really skirting the edge of the shadows here. I'll offer a a parable here that may resonate well.

    Say you're walking along the beach, trying to get a particular destination. That destination is clearly visible, just a mile or so away. Within sight. But it's a hot summer day, with the sun's rays scorching the sand, making them feel like hot coals. In such a situation, it might seem pretty reasonable to walk in the water instead. It's cool and soft and much easier to walk in. And as the sun gets higher, it gets even warmer, so you might want to go further into the water to cool off. Maybe you even decide to swim to your destination. The water isn't that deep after all. But once you're further into the ocean, you get caught in a hidden undertow which pulls you under and you drown. When all you really had to do was persevere, keep going and grit your teeth against the heat.

    I guess I'm saying that the Dark Side is the ocean. Quick, easy, and very dangerous. But once you've waded far enough into those waters, it's very hard to get out.

    Glad you're liking it, next chapter should be here by Sunday.
     
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  19. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Chapter Four
    “Alright partner,” came Hondo’s voice from Ezra’s wrist comlink, “You’re almost at the control center. It’s just down the hallway.”


    “Thanks, Hondo,” Ezra replied, “I’ll call you back once I’ve shut down the mag-locks!”


    He cut the call and was about to move down the hallway when his wrist comm chimed again, flashing with the three-tone alert that was reserved for Phoenix Command. Grimacing in annoyance, Ezra clicked the device on and immediately heard Hera’s voice crackling into the air.


    “Spectre Six, you missed check-in,” the Twi’lek Captain said in the weary voice of a long-suffering mother.


    Glancing ahead at the empty hallway ahead, Ezra spoke.


    “The mission changed, Hera,” he said quickly, keeping his voice steady.


    “The Y-Wings were being dismantled and I decided that we had to act fast before they were all gone.”


    “Ezra, that wasn’t your-”


    “I made a command decision,” Ezra yelled, cutting her off.


    For a second nothing was audible but the faint connection static of the comm. Ezra had never spoken to Hera that way before and a part of him was mortified at having spoken so sharply to a woman who had been a second mother to him. The other part, though, the part that had been listening to the words of a Sith Holocron for six months won out.


    “I saw an opportunity to recover a dozen-plus operational starfighters for our fleet and I took it. Sabine and the others are getting them ready for flight now. I’m on my way to deactivate the mag-locks and then we’ll all be gone.”


    The dead silence reigned for a few more seconds, then Hera’s voice crackled out again.


    “The rest of the fleet is scrambling right now. We’ll be there soon. Make sure the fighters are ready to go.”


    The comlink beeped with an end-call chime and the device went silent.


    Ezra stared at the comm for a moment and a faint trace of trepidation tingling along his spine at the post-mission debriefing that would inevitably come. Shaking his head to clear away the distracting thoughts, Ezra focused his gaze on the door at the far end of the hallway.


    Doubt is a contagion. Hesitation a weakness. Choose and act!



    Even in the middle of a mission, the words of the Sith Holocron kept coming back to him.


    Stepping towards the heavy blast door that sealed the command center off from the rest of the station, Ezra glanced around, his blue eyes taking in all the details.


    His keen gaze was able to pick out a single, well-concealed cam positioned above the entrance. Moving in a blur, the young Jedi snatched his heavy DL-44 blaster pistol off his belt, took aim at the cam and sent a trio of high-energy blaster bolts into the surveillance device.


    As the cam sparked and fizzled, Ezra plunged his mind deep into the Force, commanding the great energy to do his bidding. Feeling the invisible power humming through him, he reached out and seized the two heavy blast doors in the Force and pulled them apart.


    The solid durasteel groaned and creaked under the young man’s assault, but held steady, not moving. Frowning, Ezra paused for a moment, considering the doors and then his eyes lit up in understanding. Releasing his Force grip, he plucked his lightsaber off his belt, ignited the brilliant viridescent blade and slashed it through the center of the doors in a single smooth motion.


    Keeping his blade ignited, Ezra lowered the weapon and grabbed the doors with the Force again and pushed at them with all his might. The sturdy metal screeched in protest and this time, with the central locking mechanism destroyed, the durasteel slabs slid back, leaving the entrance unblocked.


    A pair of stormtroopers came into sudden view and opened fire immediately. Ezra reacted even greater swiftness, bringing his humming lightsaber back up in guard stance. The verdant blade spun and twisted, sending the crimson energy darts right back to their source, hitting both stormtroopers in the stomach and throat, knocking them to the floor with a loud clatter.


    Leaping forward, Ezra charged into the command, center, blade raised. Glancing around once, he saw no additional troopers, just a handful of olive-uniformed officers, all unarmed. The officers all stared at the humming energy blade in the young man’s hands and began to back away from him in fear. Ignoring the unarmed men who were now running towards the exit, Ezra looked to the main console at the far end of the room and spotted a single black-uniformed man.


    A blaster pistol appeared in the man’s hand and he opened fire. Twirling the lightsaber casually, Ezra deflected the first few shots harmlessly into the walls, and when the officer kept firing, he angled his blade and deflected the next shot into the man’s knee.


    A pained howl filled the large chamber and the officer fell to his knees, grasping his injured leg, his blaster falling to the floor beside him. Deactivating his lightsaber, Ezra hooked the weapon on his belt and flicked his fingers, sending the discarded weapon rattling across the chamber with a Force pull.


    Advancing on the wounded officer, Ezra got a glimpse of his face and a genuine grin of recognition blossomed on his face.


    “You?” he asked incredulously, recognizing the man as the Admiral that had commanded the Interdictor cruiser that he’d destroyed over a year ago.


    “Last time I saw you, you were in charge of a top-secret Star Destroyer. Now you run a junkyard?”


    The blond-haired Admiral glared up at Ezra through his agony.


    “Rebel scum,” he snarled, “Your plans are ruined. I have already locked down the main computer and alerted the Imperial Sector Fleet. They’ll be here any minute to crush you and your friends while you struggle uselessly to unlock those antique bombers.”


    The humor faded from Ezra’s features and his face grew dark with anger.


    “That was a mistake,” he snarled, and gripping the Admiral’s body with the Force, pulled him to his feet, pinning him against the console, which creaked and bent against the pressure.


    Staring into the man’s blue eyes, Ezra summoned all the power he could and reached out to touch the officer’s mind.


    “You will unlock the bombers,” he said, pressing down on the man’s mind, compelling him to obey.


    “I will not,” the black-clad Admiral replied, “I am an officer of the Imperial Navy. I will never betray my oath!”


    The rage that had been simmering beneath the surface of Ezra’s thoughts for the last year, began to boil hotter. Reaching with his anger, he drew more Force power into him, demanding that the great energy do his bidding.


    Seizing the Admiral’s mind with renewed strength, he repeated his command.


    “You will unlock the bombers!”


    The Admiral’s smooth feature twisted in pain at the mental pressure and he howled.


    “I won’t!”


    Ezra grew even angrier and pressed on the Imperial’s mind with all his power, squeezing and pushing the man to do one thing.


    Obey.



    “You will unlock the bombers,” Ezra repeated a third time, feeling the power of the Force flowing through him like he’d felt on Anaxes and Malachor.


    He felt powerful.


    He felt invincible.


    He could do anything.


    He would prevail.


    “You will unlock the bombers,” Ezra said for the fourth time, “And you will do it now!


    The black-uniformed officer let out a single tortured scream that abruptly broke off as he went completely limp, collapsing against the console, his eyes completely glassy.


    Ezra took an involuntary step back, shock suffusing his being.


    “I will unlock the bombers,” the officer said in an utterly emotionless tone.


    Moving slowly, almost robotically, he turned and tapped at the main console for a few moments. Green lights flashed on the console and a moment later, Ezra’s comlink crackled to life.


    “Ezra, you did it,” Sabine cried jubilantly, “The Y-Wings are all unlocked.”


    Unable to take his eyes off the now-motionless Imperial, Ezra managed to reply distractedly.


    “G-g-good,” he said shakily, “Get them flying and head for space.”


    “What about you?” Sabine asked.


    “I’ll grab the Phantom and see you topside,” he replied and ended the call.


    He couldn’t take his eyes off the stationary officer. Reaching out with one hand, he grasped the man by the shoulder, turning him around and saw the completely blank expression affixed on his face. Raising his hand, Ezra waved it before the man’s blank gaze. The Admiral didn’t even blink.


    He simply stared out at Ezra with blank blue eyes that showed no sign of intelligence.


    Swallowing hard, Ezra managed to choke out a few words.


    “H-hey, are you okay?


    The officer didn’t say anything, his face utterly emotionless, eyes staring unblinkingly, jaw slack. A small trail of drool was beginning to appear at the corner of his mouth.


    Ezra took a few shaky breaths and waved his hand in front of the Admiral’s face again. No response. Feeling unsettled, Ezra took a few steps backwards, releasing his mental hold on the Admiral. The man still stood there, showing no signs of life other than the rise and fall of his chest.


    A chilling sensation creeping up his spine. He had done that. He had destroyed a person’s mind.


    A living, breathing being.


    A man with hopes, dreams, friends, family


    Ezra suddenly felt very sick, bile rising in his throat, his mouth feeling completely dry. A revolting sensation rose in his chest and he abruptly bent over and vomited, the contents of his stomach spilling onto the metal deck. The young man vomited again and again, until there was nothing but dry heaves coming from his throat.


    Scrambling away from the mess on all fours, Ezra took deep, gasping breaths, his mouth tasting foul.


    Finding his feet beneath him, Ezra got to his feet shakily. He kept his gaze on the featureless metal beneath him, unable to look back. Taking a few deeper breaths, the young man managed to take a few steps forward, stumbling out of the room.


    Fear and disgust, terror and remorse all filled his head. Tears welled up in his eyes, he suddenly felt utterly sad and very dirty. Blinking away the tears, Ezra took a single deep, cleansing breath, drawing on the Force for calm.


    It didn’t bring him calm, but he did feel stronger. His legs no longer shook and he stood up straighter. Taking another breath, Ezra ran from the control center, dashing as fast as he could. With every step, he took away from the scene, he felt his fear and remorse grow a bit smaller.


    He had done the right thing, he told himself. He was a soldier, fighting in a war. He was fighting to stop the Empire that killed thousands of innocents every day.


    He had done the right thing.


    Ezra Bridger raced down the metal hallways and didn’t look back once.
     
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: [face_nail_biting] In Legends, this feels a lot like Kyp Durron's descent. [face_thinking] Fear and disgust dissipate and only a sense of invincibility remains.
     
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  21. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    It's funny you say that. I always found Kyp's fall to be one of the most believable ones. His anger was very righteous, his hatred almost justified. He struck out at the enemies of the Republic, his enemies who were evil beings. It doesn't make what he did right, but it does make them understandable. That is an element I'm trying to incorporate into Ezra's story here.
     
  22. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Epilogue

    Twilight was falling on Atollon once again. The orange sun was sliding towards the distant horizon, painting the entire landscape in a dusky light. Beneath the fading light, on the primary landing field of Chopper Base, a pair of figures quarrelled.


    “You disobeyed orders!” Hera shouted, her green head-tail lekku twitching as she spoke.


    “The mission was for recon, not retrieval.”


    Ezra stood his ground, squaring his shoulders. His cheeks were still pale from his dismay aboard Reklam Station, but his eyes were hard with resolve.


    “I had command of the mission,” he replied in an angry tone, “And I used my judgment to change the objective.”


    Hera blew out a breath in exasperation.


    “Ezra, you acted directly against orders. This is serious.”


    Ezra clenched his fist and glared at Hera.


    “If I had completed recon and returned to base, all the Y-Wings would have been demolished. There would have been nothing left for us to recover.”


    Hera opened her mouth to respond but Ezra cut her off, continuing his tirade.


    “This mission was a success!” he shouted.


    “We didn’t lose any people or ships, and we recovered thirteen functioning Y-Wings.”


    “Ezra,” Hera began.


    “I agree,” another voice called out.


    Both Ezra and Hera turned around to see another figure standing near the edge of the landing platform. The man strode towards them, his greying black hair barely visible in the dimming sunlight.


    “Commander Sato,” Hera said, saluting the commander of Phoenix Squadron. Ezra saluted as well, straightening up to his full height.


    “Captain Syndulla,” Sato greeted, “Lieutenant Commander Bridger.”


    He gestured for them to be at ease and Hera took that as permission to speak her mind again.


    “Commander, I have to express my concerns about Lieutenant Commander Bridger’s performance on this mission. He disobeyed orders and undertook unauthorized actions.”


    Sato gave Ezra a measuring look, his brown eyes sweeping over the young man.


    “I share your frustration with Commander Bridger’s unorthodox methods,” he began. But as Hera started to reply, he raised a flat hand, forestalling her next comment.


    “But, I cannot deny their effectiveness.”


    Turning towards the landing field, Sato gestured to the thirteen Y-Wings that were scattered across the wide expanse.


    “We have these ships solely because Commander Bridger showed initiative and determination.”


    Sato fixed Ezra with a stern look, with a hint of warmth in his auburn eyes.


    “Well done, Commander Bridger. Keep up the good work.”


    Ezra grinned broadly and saluted again.


    “Thank you, sir! I will.”


    Sato spun on his heel and strode off the landing pad, leaving the Ghost crew alone in the fading twilight.


    Hera gave Ezra an inscrutable look, then turned and left without another word, shaking her head in disappointment.


    Ezra watched after her leaving, a cold sliver of remorse stabbing through his heart.


    “Well done, young Jedi,” Zeb remarked from behind him. The Lasat clapped Ezra on the shoulder as he walked past him, towards the Chopper Base facilities.


    Sabine and Rex followed him, the latter giving Ezra an approving nod, with the former ignoring him entirely.


    As his friends walked away from him, Ezra Bridge turned his gaze to the horizon and watched the Atollon sun sink beneath the horizon, plunging the desert into darkness.
     
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  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow, I do not miss the symbolism of the last line of the landscape plunging into darkness. [face_thinking] Hera's and Sato's reactions are both understandable but do not make Ezra's future path any clearer. He feels vindicated in doing whatever it takes to succeed & gain a victory. :eek:

    Zeb and Rex seem to approve, but Sabine not so much.

    =D=
     
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  24. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    I'm glad you picked up on that. Sabine is the one closest to Ezra, both in age and personality. She sees what he's becoming more clearly than the others.

    I'm surprised nobody's asked about Kanan, since this whole story is based on the premise that he didn't return from his self-exile.

    This isn't the end of Ezra's story. This is just the beginning.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
     
  25. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow. WOW. I'm now caught up, and ohmigosh, this is absolutely chilling in all the best ways! I love how the gradual and believable progression of Ezra's "journey into darkness" continues here. We saw it in his sudden "command decision" to alter the mission and steal the Y-wings, and it's ramping up and up here. Once again he takes pains to justify his actions, both to himself and to Hera, even as fear continues to eat at him; if it weren't eating at him, he wouldn't have to keep thinking back to the holocron's words, I think. His battle with the troopers in the hallways of the station has much of the ruthlessness of Anakin's Tusken massacre, though whereas Anakin acted in hot blood, we see Ezra very consciously summoning his darkest memories for the express purpose of making himself unbeatable. And of course it all comes to the head with the chilling scene with the mind attack on the admiral—an Affect Mind gone horribly, horrendously wrong in a way that very believably stuns even Ezra, as we see from his reaction. When he asks "Hey, are you okay?" it looks for one brief moment as though he might have some remorse—but that remorse dwindles bit by bit as he walks away from the scene until it's fully stuffed under the justification that the Empire is evil and I've done the right thing.

    Of course what makes it all the more chilling is his colleagues' reaction. They never see the means, only the end. Sabine only sees that the bombers are unlocked; she has no idea what Ezra did to bring that about. Sato lavishes such praise on Ezra for his "initiative and determination" in winning more ships for the Rebellion, without any knowledge at all that the cost was a sentient being's mind and soul. Zeb congratulates him too, also without knowing anything about Ezra's means (I could see where the "young Jedi" comment might unwittingly rub a bit of salt in Ezra's wounds, though, given the un-Jedilike action he took) Of course, it's not totally black and white here: I don't doubt that those ships will be very useful to the Rebellion. But there is that looming question of whether/when the end justifies the means: if any of these comrades of Ezra's knew what had actually happened, how would their reaction change? Would it? Not easy questions to answer, and I'm not going to try, but I applaud the very effective and compelling way you've raised them in this story.

    Now, since you said this:
    All right, I'll ask about Kanan. :p :kanan: He has indeed been conspicuously absent throughout this whole thing. I imagine that doesn't necessarily mean he's not aware of something happening with his apprentice. Though I realize that might be for another story. ;)

    Wonderful work, and thanks so much for sharing—I would be thrilled to see this journey continue in future stories! =D=
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
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