Title: Learning to Fly Author: Vek Talis Length: Multi Chapter Timeframe: 197 years before KotOR 4153 BBY approx. Genre: Drama/Mystery Characters: OC & Master Vandar from KotOR Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars and never will. Summary: Vek Talis goes on his first mission after appearing in the GFFA. Notes: Thanks to my Master, @Findswoman as always for her help. This will be updated approximately once every week or 10 days and be about 10-12 chapters. This is a continuation of the idea behind Beginnings, to be found here: https://boards.theforce.net/threads/beginnings.50050489/ 1 "Yes," Vizif said happily. "You're doing it; keep it up." "That's what I'm trying to do," Vek said, losing his concentration as his master urged him on. It was tiring to move an object – any object – with your mind. At least, until you were used to doing it. The free weight dropped to the practice mat with a thud. Vek blinked; he hadn't realized he'd brought it so close. "That was better, Vek." His master wore a lopsided grin. "Really, I don't know why Master Craroc was so insistent you not get training. It seems to me as though you've made tremendous progress." It had been three months since Vek came to Dantooine. Three months since he'd discovered the Force was real. In that time, he and Vizif had become close. Not in a romantic way, but she was an amazingly gifted person, not only for being a Jedi. "Thanks," he said, mind weary enough that he couldn't think of a witty, yet cynical comeback. "Come on; you've got to keep up your strength." Vizif bounded to her feet as she always did. Vek, on the other hand, wasn't so quick. He was faster than he was before he came here, of course. He'd regressed about forty years since then. At least he didn't creak like an aged wooden chair when he got up off the floor. The Force, he learned from Master Craroc, sometimes needed a specific being for certain tasks. If that being wasn't in this galaxy, the Force had a way of finding a suitable sentient. Frags, that is, people From Another Galaxy, weren't common. In fact, they were quite rare. The trauma caused by dragging someone from one dimension to another was so great, that many Frags lost their minds, either immediately, or over time. That was what the Jedi said, anyway. They also said the Force sometimes needed a being to fulfill a certain role. To Vek, that meant the Force sometimes needed villains. Creating one, through dragging someone here, seemed like a planned thing, a process, rather than randomness. The few Frags who hadn't blown a gasket were relegated to the Jedi Archives on Coruscant. There, they lived their extra long lives in quiet meditation and contemplation, rarely setting foot outside. Fear often made otherwise reasonable beings do strange things. "Why are you picking at your food?" Vizif asked, as they sat in the underground refectory of the Jedi enclave. "Sorry," Vek said absently. "Was thinking about... stuff." She reached across the table, touching his hand. "You won't get stuck in the Archives. We've been over this, remember? Master Vandar believes in you. I believe in you." "Thanks, Master." That title never got old. He was in the GFFA, apprenticed to a Jedi Knight. The food, on the other hand, seemed older than Vandar. The Jedi didn't believe in eating the flesh of animals. That didn't stop him from craving a juicy, extra-rare cheeseburger. "Finish up," Vizif said. She stood from the table and put her plate in the recycler. As a Miraluka, she was blind, but could see, even mundane objects, through the Force. She had no trouble navigating the refectory. "It's time for blade training," she said, the corners of her mouth edging upwards into a smile. "I haven't even built my first lightsaber, Master," Vek said. He was looking forward to that. "And you won't today, either, Padawan," Vizif said. "That doesn't mean we can't prepare you for the day." Beneath the enclave, beneath the underground portion, lay a specially designed training room. Droids floated, rolled and walked around it, always ready to perform. "Here. A training blade," Vizif said, handing a small hilt to him. "Remember your protective gear." In a full body suit, he felt awkward, like he was walking in Zero-G, except that he was weighted down by the cumbersome outfit. Frankenstein's Monster popped into his head, but he shook that away. The suit was to protect him from the saber. Wielding light had its dangers: it was weightless, so except for the hilt, it literally felt like nothing, and it could cut off limbs with little to no psi. A simple flick of the wrist could be deadly. "I feel a lot less safe in this cocoon, Master," he said flatly. "Couldn't I run the gauntlet with a thousand spinning sabers coming at me at once, instead? Seems like it would cause less harm that way." "Oh, shush," she said and let out a giggle. "Really, Vek, you don't look overly ridiculous." "Stellar," he said, right before his tongue clacked against the roof of his mouth. The sound echoed in the over-sized helmet he wore. There was a first time for everything. He walked out into the center of the room. All the droids sensed this. With a remote, Vizif activated one. It hovered toward him. "Ready?" she asked. "As I'll ever be," he said and activated the blade. It hummed and vibrated ever so slightly in his hand. He placed his left hand over his right, as she'd showed him. Immediately, the droid whirred and slid quickly through the air. It shot a practice bolt at him; enough to shock, and nothing more. "Ah," he said. His blade had moved too far, too fast. "Concentrate," Vizif said. "Look beyond the droid. Let the Force take control." Sighing softly, he ignited the blade again. The droid swooshed through the air. It darted here, then there, at last unleashing another bolt. This time, it flew harmlessly away. "Good," Vizif said. "You're quick; it took me a long time to learn to defend against droids." Again, the droid whizzed here, then there. It unleashed several bolts in quick succession. Though he couldn't feel the droid, he picked up on its movements and blocked each blast in turn. "Amazing," Vizif said. "Not really," Vek said as he switched off the blade, took off the giant helmet. "It's geometry and algebra. Maybe a little calculus thrown in." He leaned in close to whisper, "But I wasn't so good with calculus, so let's just call it geometry and algebra." She giggled, but then turned serious. "I've set the droid to random, though." "Yes, Master, but what protocols do droids have to create a random pattern? We go back to geometry, the layout of the room they have to work with, and algebra. Simple math." From the table which stood against the far wall, Vizif picked up a practice blaster. "I disagree," she said and fired the weapon. "Ow," Vek yelped and drew back. "You shot me, Master." Already, she'd rushed to his side. "I'm sorry; I thought you were going to block it." The blaster she'd used held practice bolts, but a high level, reserved for padawans much farther along in their training. "I'm so sorry," she said, helping him off with the suit. "It's all right," he said, trying to soothe her. The red mark on his shoulder stung. Carefully, he touched it with his right hand. It was very tender. "Let's get you to the healer," Vizif said, but he only heard her voice as if muted, for something was happening to him. Particles of light danced from his fingertips. Soon, the shoulder wound glowed slightly. Pain ebbed and the red, raw spot began to heal. "Oh, my," Vizif said as she watched. "You are a natural healer, Vek." "So it would seem," he said. When the pain was gone, he removed his hand. There was no sign of the wound. "Wonderful," she said and her face lit up. Her features turned sly as she added, "That means I can wound you till my heart's content and Master Craroc will never know." "You know, Master? I think I'll pass on that." She snorted laughter. "Sounds good." When they went back outside, a civilian speeder sat by the entrance walkway. "I wonder who's here?" Vizif asked, then pulled her padawan by the arm. "Let's find out." They caught up with the woman who was trying to gain access to the enclave. "I need to get in there, you clattering tin can." "I'm sorry, Misstress Galorn, Master Craroc has specifically instructed this unit not to allow visitors this day," ID-88 said. The lanky, medium sized protocol droid seemed flustered. So did Misstress Galorn. When ID-88 saw Vizif, it raised a silvery arm. "Over here, please, Knight Krat, please." "Who are you?" Misstress Galorn demanded. "I want answers and I want help this instant. Are you a Jedi?" "Please, there's no need for hostilities," Vizif said. "I'm Jedi Knight Krat and this is my padawan, Vek. How may I help you?" "Well, it's about time." Misstress Galorn set her left hand on her hip and wagged her right forefinger in Vizif's face. "Those kath hounds are invading my farm again. I demand assistance. You Jedi can't hide in that enclave and pretend nothing needs done out here. I should say, you would run out of food quickly if it weren't for we farmers." "Peace, Misstress Galorn," Vizif said, and for a wonder, the irate woman did ease back a bit. "My padawan and I will go to your farm and see what we can do." She waved her hand, subtly, down at waist height. "I-" Galorn seemed taken aback. "Well, thank you," she said slowly. Suddenly, she was moving slower, almost like someone had drugged her. "I'll wait here for good news." She wandered toward a bench and sat down. "You enjoyed that, Master," Vek said as they walked toward the speeders the enclave used. "I did not," Vizif said. "What exactly did you do?" He'd felt her use the Force, but he was at a loss as to how. "A simple trick. No algebra required." Vizif winked. "You have a way with people, Master," Vek said. "Even before you used the Force, she was responding better to you than I thought she might." His own people skills had always been lacking. And that would do until a bigger understatement came along. "Thank you," she said. She plopped down into a speeder. When he was in, too, she jammed the accelerator. They took off southeast. "Misstress Galorn isn't really a farmer," Vizif said as they sped along grassy plains. "She owns several and runs them with an iron fist. The only good thing I can say about her is that she treats her workers better than most. If there's trouble at a farm, she'll help them get things straightened out." "I'm surprised you didn't get more upset back there," Vek said. He often fed off the emotions of others. "There is no passion, there is serenity." The way Vizif quoted that part of the Jedi code always sounded sad to Vek. She claimed it was her favorite line, yet a wave of loss and melancholy always passed through her when she said it aloud. At the nearest Galorn farm, there was indeed trouble with kath hounds. The large canines circled the farmhouse, broken droids crushed under heavy paws. "Help us, Masters Jedi." A man stood on the roof of the structure. "Them kath hounds is gone kill us, if they can." Now that they saw a better target, the hounds grouped together in a pack. Vizif ignited her lightsaber. "Stay behind me, Vek," she commanded. The Force tugged at Vek's collar. Swirls of light seemed to come from an entrance to the cellar of the farmhouse. They drew Vek toward it, even as Vizif pushed forward to meet the threat. "Where are you going?" His master got between Vek and the hounds. "Come here, you big baby," Vek called to the mother hound. It broke off from the pack, while the others kept Vizif at bay. "Vek, what are you doing?" Vizif tried to use the Force to run to his side, but one of the hounds grabbed the edge of her robes in his jaws. "Peace, Master," Vek said, kneeling to the kath hound. "I know what I'm doing." When the hound growled in his face, slavering like she was ready to bite it off, he glanced toward the cellar entrance. "There, yes?" he said quietly. Instantly, the hound turned toward the cellar, whimpered. Then, up at the man on the roof, she snarled as though mad. "I think I see the trouble, Master," Vek said. "This man has captured the mother's young." "They was in my fields, eating my squash," the man said defensively. "I- I didn't kill them." "No, and that is what is going to save you," Vek said. "I'm going to release the young and they are all going to leave together." He returned his attention to the mother hound. "Isn't that right?" He gathered the Force around him, as best he could, keeping his eyes glued to the mother hound. ==See, I'm helping; I'm no threat and you're no threat to me== She growled, but then her head dipped and she whimpered, averting her eyes from Vek. "I'll take that as a tacit agreement," he said and opened the cellar door, turning his back on the kath hound. Quickly, padding feet bounded up the steps. Three, no, four young hounds poured from the cellar, leaped on their mother. She rubbed noses with them each in turn. "They gone eat my squash again," the man on the roof complained. "Kath hounds don't eat vegetables," Vek said. "They are carnivorous." When it was clear he didn't understand, Vek raised an eyebrow and sighed. "They eat meat. They were probably digging after some burrowing rodent that had been eating your squash; rodents will eat just about anything. They were, in fact, helping you." "Oh." The man relaxed a bit. "Um, a little help over here, Padawan," Vizif said. One of the male hounds still had her by the robe. Vek glared at him and he whimpered as he let go. "Now, all of you, back where you belong. This man won't harm you again. Or else he'll answer to me." The farmer harrumphed, but the kath hounds slowly wandered away. "How did you learn to do that?" Vizif asked as they sped back toward the enclave. "I've seen Jedi Masters tame beasts with the Force, but you're no master." "Thanks for reminding me; I'd forgotten," he joked and she laughed. Then he shrugged his shoulders. "I've always been good with animals. People... not so much. You, my Master, are far better with people." "Well, it seems we compliment each other, at least." Vizif smiled, then chuckled. "Good work, Vek; I'll make sure to tell Master Craroc that you helped." "Master Craroc. Stellar." Vek wasn't happy with that taciturn fellow. Craroc wanted to boot Vek from Dantooine the moment he laid eyes on the Frag. Even with Master Vandar's blessing. Vek didn't know what the human had against him, but he figured he'd learn sooner or later.