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Saga Saga - PT No Perfect Way: Post-Yavin Princess Leia, Dear Diary Challenge 2020,

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by DarthIshtar, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Author's note: This is the year I stop forgetting to write fanfic while being stressed out by all of my other writing projects. My best character understanding has been of Leia and I realised that I'd like to take a look at her from a slightly different approach than I have in the past. I won't tell you the slight difference, but I hope you'll enjoy it and I promise to keep writing. BTW, I will not be trying to follow the comics on Leia's Rebellion years (mostly because I haven't had the resources to own them) and am just getting into the show Rebels, so this will be largely based on other sources and conjecture.

    Warning: This will start off very dark for obvious reasons.
    *
    ENTRY 1

    It took me some time to work up the nerve to ask my parents what the first Empire Day was like for them. I thought that I would get a straightforward answer as I was nearing adolescence. I was old enough to know some of the details of why Darth Vader could not be trusted and why Alderaan was home to so many refugees. I studied the Clone Wars with my tutors and recognized the state of chaos that the Emperor had rescued the Galaxy from.

    I also knew my parents well enough to realize that it was not that simple. Mother was a pinnacle of charity long before asylum applications began pouring in by the thousands. Father fought in the Senate to preserve justice from his first session, regardless of what title the leader of his government held. They had survived the war, but both arrived at the founding of the Empire having suffered many personal wounds.

    When I was nearing my Day of Demand, I caught them in a vulnerable moment and dared to ask again. Mother recalled the same story I had heard before about being handed a piece of vellum during dinner that informed her that the Republic had been dissolved and her husband had left the central planet after the first official session of the Imperial Senate. She had excused herself for a few minutes to "take a call from an old friend" and managed to return with her composure. It would be days before she spoke to Father in person and the silence robbed her of more sleep than the reports of what was happening to the Jedi who had attempted a coup. His first comm was the day after Empire Day and told her that he was going to be attending to matters of state for a few days, but his first helpful comm included a promise of joyful news. She smiled fondly at me at this point and I knew that there would be no more information forthcoming on the subject.

    Father was not so erudite. I asked this days after a crucial vote had failed in the Senate and he was sincerely showing his frustration when not in the public eye. That was Bail at his most vulnerable and I thought it would make Father speak more candidly than usual. He was silent for a long moment, then sighed. "Except for the end of the world, it might have been any ordinary day."

    I knew that the Empire was founded within hours of the defeat of the Separatist commander, General Grievous, and an assassination attempt on the Supreme Chancellor by the Jedi. It preceded the inevitable end of the Clone Wars by hours and the mass execution of the traitors who had led the opposition. But it was also the day on which Miarku Minor declared its independence, doctors at Coruscant's H-Gen-42 hospital treated eighty-two refugee children with moderate to severe radiation sickness free of charge, and famed dancer Ilorven announced his retirement. As Father said, it might have been an ordinary day.

    I've been thinking of the last day that Alderaan saw. It was a few days after the Equinox Festival and two days before the next meeting of the Council of Thanes. The open air markets were starting their season and people of all classes and species gravitated towards these. In Crevasse City, they were cautiously optimistic about the likelihood that the worst of the weather was on its way out for the year. Children were looking forward to a summer hiatus from school.

    Except for the end of the world, it might have been an ordinary day and I couldn't stop that world from never seeing another sunrise. Because Tarkin was a monster, Vader was a demon, and I was a fool, the only thrantas in the Galaxy are members of an endangered species in xenozoological exhibitions. There is no such thing as a native arallute. Someday, someone will romanticize the relics of my culture and talk about the lost treasures of Alderaan. There are now very few of us left who know that Alderaan itself was not just a treasure, but a miracle.

    So far, no one has wondered why I'm having nightmares.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] [face_dancing] :* :* A Leia diary.
    A very dark and poignant start. =D=
     
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  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    WOW. Really powerful stuff here. This is a diary that I will be following! Leia has so much to say to the galaxy, and so much to work through herself. Nice opening and I am looking forward to where it goes from here.
     
  4. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    WarmNyota_Sweetayesha: Thanks. This version of Leia is informed a lot on research I've been doing on grief and trauma, as well as my own experience with PTSD. It won't always be like this, obviously, but it's going to be an interesting exploration of the journey out of the post-Yavin darkness.
    Divapilot: <3. I love seeing you reply to my stories still. I'm glad you're enjoying it and finding it powerful.
    *
    ENTRY 2

    The Death Star debriefing was today. Commander Willard did not think it appropriate to haul the heroes in for questioning minutes after they had survived a miracle and it was merciful to give everyone on base time to recuperate yesterday. I'm not sure what he hoped to accomplish by involving me in the session; I suspect that he is kindly trying to keep my mind off of the things that happened before the Death Star became a horror of the past.

    Today was the first time I had seen Han and Luke since the impromptu celebration that I only half-remember. Han took one look at the assembled officers and asked, "So, Your Holiness, am I supposed to salute you, too?" I tried to smile at his flippancy, but probably grimaced while saying that he was among friends.

    I had already spoken to Luke hours before. Since his stunning victory was his first experience with an organised military, I wanted to tell him what to expect. Though Han's Corellian Bloodstripes indicate that he has a martial background, I doubt Luke would get an unbiased introduction to military protocol from him and while I have never held a rank or enlisted formally, I have some understanding of these things.

    My primary purpose in meeting with Luke was slightly different. Some of his first words to me revealed what the Empire would call a crime and the Rebellion would call a game-changer: "I'm here with Ben Kenobi." His personal effects include a lightsaber. He destroyed the Death Star without the help of a targeting computer. He shares a surname with one of the most prominent heroes of the Clone Wars.

    Nonetheless, I reassured him that it was his choice to reveal his association with a Jedi to our newly-mutual compatriots. It was clear that he had not yet given thought to this. For the crime of coming to our base, he could be indicted for anti-Imperial activies, to say nothing of attacking an Imperial installation. These are matters that could carry prison sentences for first offenders, but there are laws from the first days of the Empire that make it legal to execute him for what that lightsaber might mean.

    After a few moments of consideration, he clasped my hand. "I don't have a teacher yet, but I left Tatooine to learn the ways of the Force," he explained. "If it helps fight the Empire, I'll do whatever I can."

    His fight has saved my life and saved countless worlds. I have little faith that there are teachers still out there, but the first Jedi must have started their service with no more than hope in a power they had to explore on their own. I have my doubts about "yet," but I have hope in Luke.

    The debriefing was fairly impersonal, but covered analysis of the tactics and enemy engagement. The losses were tragic, but not unexpected in such dire circumstances, but there is no question that the TIE fighters were the most devastating contribution to the Empire's counterattack. How could they not be when Darth Vader's unique TIE Advanced x1 registered on the scopes?

    Han knew the course and targeting information for the TIE fighters and even knew which of the Falcon's guns had taken aim in the Trench. When he was asked about the casualties, he looked straight at me for the first time since the debriefing started and seemed to actually feel remorse for not having a different answer.

    "I think Vader's still out there."

    It became difficult to breathe for a minute, but no one seemed to notice. I tucked my chin against my chest, closed my eyes, and tried to focus on something other than the blood pounding in my ears. From the scattered words I made out, I could tell that they were discussing the likelihood of a disabled Imperial fighter clearing the blast radius before the Death Star's explosion.

    They had just wrapped up the discussion of a possible lightspeed jump when my vision cleared and my heart stopped racing. I found myself digging my stylus into the tabletop six centimeters from my datapad and wondering why no one had noticed my moment of weakness.

    Well, not no one. Luke seemed to be aware that while I was sitting sedately on the other side of a conference table, I was mentally on the verge of combustion. He had to be asked about sensor readings twice before he came to himself and answered General Dodonna.

    "Your Highness," Commander Willard asked me, "do you have anything further?"

    I had many things I would have liked to say, but they were not related to gunnery emplacements, TIE fighter debris, or the progress of ship repairs. I straightened my back and shook my head.

    "Thank you," I said to them all. "We owe you a great debt."

    I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking of ways that it might be repaid. Han has his reward and as many spare parts as the techs could find to repair damage done to his ship. Luke has a promising career in the Starfighter Corps ahead of him. There is gratitude that I must render for things that did not happen above Yavin IV alone and things that I will never be able to articulate in spite of my long history of public speaking and excellent education.
     
  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh wow! The first entry gave me goosebumps to read. What a powerful, poignant reflection and something that I can completely envision for Leia following the destruction of Alderaan. Her introspection of the "end of the world being an ordinary day" and tying back to the birth of the Empire and Bail's thoughts was intense. Her pain and her outrage and her misery were all clearly expressed.

    In the second update, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for Leia to carry on in spite of her grief, but she's doing it. But of course she is. There's such an inner strength and resilience that's carrying her through, no matter how my heart just hurt for her reaction to Han's suspicion that Vader is still alive. Of course Luke noticed. They're connected. :( [face_love]

    This is fantastic work so far, and I can't wait to read more! =D=
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent contrast between the everyday-business-as-usual briefing with Leia's still tangled emotions. Her friendship with Luke is so warm and natural on both sides.
     
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  7. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Mira_Jade--Welcome, friend. :) I'm glad to have made you get all goosebumpy. I remember an "ordinary day" in 2001, when I literally didn't know that there was a major catastrophe because I didn't have class until 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and slept in until someone hammered on my door at 11 a.m. and I found out about the twin towers. One thing I've always loved about Luke is that, just in his nature, he's a perceptive guy. I think part of it is the Force, but also growing up in an isolated community so he learned how to pay close attention to the moods and needs of people he got the chance to interact with.
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha--Your line about L/L being warm and natural makes me smile. Her and Luke vs. Her and Han is such a stark dynamic and it's a long journey to where she and Han temper each other instead of losing their temper with each other. It's one of the things I'm going to try to do subtly with this. I have two favorite H/L/L stories: Luke's Girl and the Not-Quite Love Letters. The first one is from Han's perspective and looks at Leia's relationship with Luke as something that will never be one that he can have easily with her, from beginning of the OT to the end. It puts whole new perspective on why he thinks on Endor that they've got something going. The other is a work of genius that not only chronicles how they get to be friends and then lovers, but also how the rest of the Rebel alliance deals with it. (The conversations between Luke and the rest of his pilots, who are all trying to win a pool about H/L are some of the funniest things I've ever read, but the entire fic makes me cry at times.) Since I'm not going in either direction, I'm hoping that the voices and relationships continue to work

    Note: Whoops, I meant to write something short today and finished up 1100 words later. Vera is an original character of mine from Lest Ye Be Judged.
    *
    ENTRY 3

    Han's grim pronouncement didn't leave me as easily as I thought. Every other member of the command saw it in a strategic light. No one has yet been able to confirm or deny his demise, but the part of me that remembers Vader's almost fabled history will only believe that he's gone when he haunts me from a spectral plane rather than a psychological one.

    It was difficult to sleep last night and I woke after a very short while, my throat raw from screaming and my legs tangled in the sheets as if I had been either running for my life or struggling to free myself. The wall next to my head looked nothing like durasteel and I had a slightly-stiff mattress under my spine, but I felt as vulnerable as if I were back in that cell. Breathing was a task because even on a jungle world, late night air is biting and it reminded me powerfully that everything about cell 2187 had chilled me to the bone.

    I did not think. I did not plan. I remembered to put on shoes because they were next to my bed, grabbed my datapad out of instinct, and escaped to a place where I could be guaranteed sentient interaction.

    The most likely place was the hangar bay, since people would be coming off of patrol or working late into the night on repairs, but there was every chance that one of those repairmen would call me Your Worship and I was neither in the mood for an argument nor ready to come up with polite conversation. I passed the hangar without hesitation and found myself a seat at one of the mess hall tables. There was some native fruit in the serving area, but I seized several slices of bread that were a sign of a long-term installment. If we were in imminent danger of needing to evacuate, there would have been ration bars and packaged foods that could be cleaned up in moments. Someone taking the time to knead dough was proof that we did not yet have to scramble to safety.

    Wedge and Luke entered the mess as I returned to my table and they joined me without waiting for an invitation. I left my datapad powered off as a sign that we could dispense with official business and Luke mentioned that he was going to check on Artoo in the morning. Other than myself, his astromech is the being with the most easily-diagnosed battle damage on base, but he is on the way to a full recovery and C-3PO's selfless offer to donate circuits or gears was one that the techs could turn down.

    It was Wedge's first patrol since the damage his fighter sustained over the Death Star was repaired and while neither of them said so, I could see the contentment in his demeanor. His files mention an upbringing at a refueling station and he is most at home in a craft of some kind. Luke, I can tell, is happy to be behind a flight stick, even when there is nothing more remarkable than a solar flare to report.

    Breaking bread with new friends was remarkably healing, particularly as neither one of them asked why I was picking at bread in a slightly-rumpled dress hours after local midnight. Someone must have noticed, however. Everyone here has a uniform, but there hasn't been much time to concern myself with what type I ought to wear since I arrived with nothing more than the clothes on my back.

    I was able to sleep before dawn, the nightmares only setting my heart to racing this time, so it was a knock on my door that awoke me next rather than my own shrieking.

    The woman at the door introduced herself as Vera and asked if she could come in. I was intrigued by the container in her arms and my manners were a matter of habit, so I gave her the chair at my desk and sat on the narrow bed.

    When she opened the container, she extracted a hairbrush and I must have looked confused. “Our hygiene kits are designed for soldiers with military haircuts,” she said. “We thought you might prefer an alternative.”

    The “we” turned out to be a variety of women on base whom I had yet to meet. Vera, who is on a third-watch sensor assignment at this time, had thought of donating one of her off-duty uniforms and the effort seems to have snowballed from there. Until the Rebellion knows what to do with me next, I have clothing in a variety of styles and colors. It brought me an odd sense of relief to don a green jacket and wear shoes that had never tread the durasteel floors of Tarkin's secret project.

    It was a pity that my comm had to interrupt, but she left with my thanks and an invitation to meet me for dinner. The message on my comm unit summoned me to another command meeting. For a heart-stopping moment, I thought they had news of Vader, but they had laid hold of the first official Imperial press releases regarding the events of the last few days.

    The Empire is no longer denying that they built a planet-killer, but are blaming us for seizing the mining facility and doing the unthinkable: turning its ability to break down masses to fire on an inhabited planet. They have proof of the “heroic struggle” at Scarif, where Rebel spies massacred Imperial soldiers. Not only can they confirm that “former Imperial Senator Leia Organa” was on the station at the time of the attack on Alderaan, but witnesses say that she herself oversaw the firing of the weapon.

    The last time I sat in that conference room, I felt on the verge of collapse, but this time, I felt that I was in danger of an actual explosion. General Dodonna shut off the report as soon as that allegation was made, but I could not unhear the fact that the Empire has weaponized the worst moments of my life.

    “Of course, we can't put out a press release of our own,” Willard said after a moment of electric silence, “but the galaxy must know that this is nothing but lies.”

    “They will,” Dodonna said firmly. “We have some experience with combating the Empire's lies.”

    “They must know today,” the man who first welcomed me to the base insisted.

    “They can't,” I replied. “I understand the strength of your feelings on the matter, Commander, and share your urgency, but I believe that we are better served by not acting in haste.”

    Turning to Dodonna, I asked if the press releases had divulged the battle over Yavin. That, it seems, has not come to their attention, which means that we must proceed with prudent caution.

    I imagine that the first refutations will come from people who would never go so far as joining the Rebellion, but are fond of speaking out against the Empire. They will find holes in the stories and ask about them, not really expecting an answer. Perhaps people who are looking for a reason to fight back will listen to those inquiries. We cannot put out a press release, but that is a start.

    Some time later, I found myself alone with Willard. Dodonna is the tactician and senior military authority, but Willard is the one who can address the more immediate need.

    He was startled when I asked what I could contribute. “Princess, you are an invaluable part of this command force.”
    “But I did not come here to sit in my room between urgent messages from the General.”

    I did not elaborate on my feelings on the matter, but thankfully, I did not need to. He smiled gently as someone who understands the frustration of inaction and promised that we would speak soon of ways in which I could help the alliance on a more day-to-day basis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Super bit of comfortable down time with Wedge and Luke. I can just imagine that the bit of Imperial spin would make everyone's blood boil! Willard sounds a compassionate and practical ally to have. He gets the point quickly and will help Leia find a tangible purpose. @};-
     
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  9. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    So the spin is that the DS was a result of the Empire’s pushing back against the mean rebels, and Leia herself oversaw the destruction of her home world. :eek:
    That’s a whole new level of messed up!

    I like Vera, and I love the idea that the other women on the base pulled together to set Leia up with toiletries and clothes, especially considering they probably didn’t have that much to begin with themselves. What a lovely act of support and generosity.
     
  10. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha--I've got a soft spot for minor characters, as anyone who's read my longer fics knows. (*cough*Rieekan*cough*). Willard seems very level-headed in the five seconds that we see him in the movie.
    @divapilot--In "Wedge's Gamble," Book 2 of the x-wing novels, Wedge goes to an exhibit on the Sacrifice at Endor in which it talks about the Emperor nobly sacrificing himself and the Death Star in order to keep the Rebels from using it. I went off of this theme to put that spin on Yavin. In the comics, there are people who hold Leia responsible for what happened to her world and refuse to recognize her title. The clothes thing is actually inspired by my Scottish ancestors, who fell asleep on a ship where they were bidding a slightly-inebriated farewell to friends, and woke up on their way to the New World. When they got to Massachusetts, they were given jobs, a land, and some supplies, but they arrived with none of their worldly possessions. I imagine that some of the colonists helped a little like this.

    Note: I had to meet a deadline today and it ran up against yesterday's post. Here's more for you to reward your patience. If you want PM notifications, let me know in your next post.
    *
    ENTRY 4

    I not only ate dinner with Vera, but accepted her invitation to join her for breakfast. Luke didn't try to intrude on either meal, though I suspect no one would have turned away the hottest pilot in the Rebellion, but he looked pleased to see me surrounded by people who have the potential to become new friends.

    What kept me awake between the two meals was the concern over the survival of other friends. I missed Winter when Nisara Ehu told me about losing both of her parents to a civil war and knew that the friend who became a sister would have understood what it was like to have her life changed when she was too young to understand war. Then again, I lost both of my parents at a more advanced age and haven't been able to come to terms with any of it. Someone said they'd been to the Palace gallery and seen an exhibit, but couldn't remember the name of the artist. Winter would have remembered the artist, the duration of the exhibit, the layout of the gallery, the names of the docents, etc. I feebly remembered that, based on our respective ages, she had probably been there for the Festival of Labyrinths, when a Corellian artist had been commissioned to confuse every visitor to the gallery for eight weeks.

    I missed 2V and her absurd notions of proper grooming when I untangled my braids last night. I missed talking to Tober Elormin, the guard whose toddler daughter was named for my paternal grandmother. I never realized that there would come a day when I wouldn't be able to visit Kier Domadi's grave on a trip home.

    Midway through the night, I turned on my datapad and began compiling a list of every person I could think of who might have been on assignment for the Alliance when I mocked Grand Moff Tarkin and expected him to be less monstrous than Darth Vader. When I couldn't remember names, I wrote down codenames. It was an appallingly short list, but it gave me a moment of hope to think that maybe Carlist Rieekan had been off-world or Winter had been on assignment in my absence. Tarrick wouldn't have left Father's side, but Mother's ever-patient Chief of Staff, Mered, often acted as her emissary...

    I entrusted the file to Commander Willard when he came to visit after breakfast and he asked me if I would not rather do the research on this list myself. My jaw clenched involuntarily and before I could say that I couldn't put myself through repeated disappointment, he hastily promised to have it looked into immediately.

    He does not have an assignment for me yet, but said that I should be notified of my orders by the end of the day. I never, in my life, have ranked low enough to be given what you might call orders, but the thought of having someone to answer to was reassuring. Luke offered to spend some time in the simulators with me, but the Starfighter Corps is currently looking to replace our losses at the Death Star and I think sim time should be occupied by people who aspire to be the next Gold 3. He slyly suggested that I see what Han is up to.

    I found him not repairing the Falcon, for a change. He didn't even ask me why I didn't have better things to do with my time than watch Chewbacca defeat him in dejarik. He arched his eyebrows at my improved wardrobe and complimented me on my ability to wear something colorful. I attempted to help him in the game, but my advice went unheeded and Chewie looked very pleased with himself.

    Feeling magnanimous, I suggested that he avail himself of our mess hall, but he grimaced and said he didn't want to look like he was making this place his mailing address. That stung more than I thought it would--he seemed to have forgotten his oath of non-involvement at the battle--but I told him he was welcome to raid the pantry, no contract needed. Han stayed stubbornly behind, but Chewie actually took me up on the offer. I was fortunate to find Threepio on the way to the mess hall and Han's first mate intimated via protocol droid that if Han were truly set on leaving, he wouldn't have stayed around for minor repairs four days ago.

    I played him at dejarik after lunch and nearly beat him, but he has a natural skill for it that somehow bests the abilities I developed while playing with Mother. He made some comments that made Han laugh, but I didn't ask for a translation of any kind. With these two, I find it sometimes best to not know what they're thinking.

    Luke arrived shortly after that, saying that Willard was looking for me. I beat a retreat to the command center and was informed that the communications officers could use my assistance, starting tomorrow. It is a gratifyingly ordinary assignment for which I will never receive universal acclaim and for that, I am grateful.

    I had just been shown my station, given my first schedule assignment, and instructed on the uniform code when Willard returned at a jog. The man is not known for his haste, so I immediately thought I would be pulled into another devastating command meeting, but he handed me a datacard on which a message had been transcribed. It gave the security code for House Organa's allies, then reported that Carlist Rieekan was alive and checking in for further instructions.

    "Your Highness," Willard said breathlessly, "do you believe this to be authentic?"

    I couldn't speak for a minute as I read and re-read the code that preceded his short missive. I wished that I knew Rieekan's writing style and could say, "Of course. His use of the subject adjective verb syntax with the Crevasse City slang is a trademark." Then I thought to ask something in return.

    "May I see the original message?"

    For that, we had to venture into the intelligence offices, but within five minutes, I was looking at the same message, written formally in aurabesh, but with one crucial distinction. Someone using a code for a false message would probably not have thought to write in Taiald. My vision blurred as I read it out loud in the language that very few people count as their mother tongue now. I then turned to Willard and smiled.

    The message claims to be from Rieekan, who was a regular fixture in the Palace before I was even born and joined the Rebellion in its early days. If I am not mistaken, this is a genuine message from him and that is one miracle from the list I gave to the Commander this morning.

    I looked for Luke in the pilots' bunkroom and ready room and even the mess hall, but should have known that he would still be enjoying his downtime with Han.

    "Good news?" he asked hopefully.

    I opened my mouth to explain and instead burst into tears. Luke immediately saw this as a sign of distress. Han made me sit down and put my head between my knees while shouting for Luke to get something stronger than water from the galley.

    "It's not bad news," I blurted out once I had more oxygen in my lungs. "It's absolutely not..."

    I couldn't speak for another minute or so, but Luke brought the Corellian brandy as instructed and sat on my right side, one arm around my shoulders. It reminded me of draping a blanket over his shoulders on an outbound course from my home system. This calmed me down enough for me to speak while my brandy sat unnoticed in a drinking bulb.

    "We had contact from one of the survivors of Alderaan," I said. "One of my father's operatives."

    Luke's comforting arm tightened while Han looked relieved and even Chewie roared his approval. Han reached across the dejarik table and toasted me with the brandy. "Best news I've heard all week."

    It goes without saying that I can't expect a happy ending from all of the people on my list, but I have proof that my hope isn't baseless.

    ENTRY 5

    I had nightmares last night, but none of them woke me up. When I awoke, I discovered that Willard had granted me command-level access to a file on known operatives. Rieekan was not one of the ones with "Unknown status," but when my eyes scrolled down the list, Targeter was listed as "Confirmed active, on assignment." It had today's date stamp and proved that Winter was still alive. It took all of my emotional effort for the morning to regain my composure at that piece of good news.

    I had breakfast with my new commanding officer while she gave me the official orientation. Lot Cestrin is all business and no biography, so I only know that she is Corellian because of her accent. She seems happy to have me on board and even suggested that my diplomatic skills would help things from escalating in tense situations, but is the first person on base to refer to me as Comm Officer Organa.

    I am not sure my diplomatic skills were of any particular use today, but I discovered that the bulk of my assignment at the entry level has to do with knowing who needs to speak to whom. This is not the simple task that it seems at first. I earned myself a brief talking-to when I rerouted a call intended for Dodonna to the supply office because the person wanted their order prioritized and I didn't think that needed to come to the attention of the commanding officer on base.

    For these first few days or weeks, I'm told, I should assume that all calls are to be routed to their stated recipients and let the brass' aides do the rest of the work. That is a pragmatic approach in theory, but most of the brass have no aides.. But I am here to follow orders and work my way up as any other officer would. I am not going to pull rank while making a more understated contribution to the war effort.

    Luke came through on his way to a briefing and tweaked the end of my braid before moving on. Between my entry-level position and a heroic Jedi apprentice treating me like a favorite sister, it was a good day. I checked the list of operatives again, but there were no more miracles to report.

    I have to remind myself that there will be news of one kind or another and none of these people is intentionally observing comm silence.

    I spoke to Willard again after my shift and showed him the proposal I had devised two days ago. It took some fine-tuning, but he signed off on the commendation and took it to the other members of command. Tomorrow, Han and Luke will be officially notified that they are to be honored for their actions on the Death Star and at Yavin. Han will probably grouse that we could sell his medal for more reward and Luke might be bashful, but it is the most concrete expression of my gratitude that I can think of and I hope they will understand that.
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb news on Carlist and Winter. The usefulness of her duties and the non-dramatic nature are just what's needed. =D= You can feel the support from both Han and Luke at this difficult time. @};-
     
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  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha--I'm glad you approve of Leia being happy with what starts out as a switchboard operator. I once had a similar job and it made weird sense to me to start her there.

    ENTRY 6

    It is my second full day on the job and the only one that has not been interrupted by gentle re-training of some kind. The list of operatives is updated as information comes in, but at the moment, we have no incoming air traffic. While the status of Lord Vader is unconfirmed, we are exercising caution and that means that I monitored communications during patrols, routed several calls to the appropriate comm channel, and helped people navigate the base channels directory. When a message came through in Rodian, I used what little I knew of the language to find out who they were trying to call. The transcription that automatically logs the conversations did not translate the reply, but my reading skills are more advanced and I informed them that I would connect them to the lieutenant in Supply and Procurement who was waiting for their call.

    Or so I thought until I read my transcription and realised that, while I transferred them correctly, because of inflection errors and a misplaced vowel, I told them that they would be speaking to a lieutenant in Beds and Interviews. Perhaps I should have a dictionary on hand next time I try to speak another language. Lot praised my initiative, but I am not sure if she knows about the mistake. I hope that I don't have occasion to talk to the lieutenant in the near future.

    When my shift ended, I greeted Luke in the mess hall as usual, but was surprised to find Han picking over the food selection. "Heard there were no-strings-attached desserts out here," he commented while grabbing the last julaberry turnover.

    "That was the promise," I agreed drily. "How kind of you to believe me."

    He grinned at that. "Look, Your Highnessness," he said. "I was pretty sure I'd have to sign something in blood to get chocolate. Is that commendation they want to give me no-strings-attached, too?"

    He was nothing if not direct. "Of course. You will be attending the ceremony?"

    "Luke talked me into it," he grunted. "What do I get out of it?"

    The obvious answer was "a medal," with "extra chocolate" as a teasing alternative. I arched one eyebrow. "I think it will be a great conversation starter with every female on base," I considered, "particularly if you clean up well."

    "No uniforms," he negotiated.

    "I thought this--" I indicated his slacks, vest, and slightly-stained shirt. "--was your uniform."

    "It's my trademark," he corrected, "but I'm willing to do some laundry for the holos. What about you? Going to dress up for the occasion?"

    I reached over and stole the turnover back. "You will have to see."

    It was the closest thing I had to a casual conversation all day and I could tell that he preferred it to the hysterics he'd witnessed two days ago. I think everyone who has regular contact with me is wary of what my next breaking point will be. Luke and Han know about the nightmares. I believe the rest of the command is on the lookout for other signs of trauma, but with the exception of my unexpected outburst on the Falcon, I have had my crises in the privacy of my room.

    Once I'd finished eating, I was at liberty for the rest of the day. I had a standing invitation from Vera for dinner in the mess, so was surprised to find a message from Nisara. Like me, her assignment is during the morning shift and she asked me to call if I would like to do something that afternon.

    "Something" turned out to be a walk beyond the base perimeter. We didn't stray far from home, though it would be impossible to get lost when the Massassi temple is the only landmark for kilometers, but she led me down paths with a surety that implied she had made this trek on a regular basis. She gave me a great deal of information about local wildlife and edible plants as well as what trees to avoid, but once we reached the turnaround and were headed back to the temple, she graduated beyond pleasant small talk.

    "Have you done much wilderness trekking?"

    I could have filled hours with stories from my pathfinding class, but too many of them featured Kier and I had no desire to invite another person to haunt me. I instead recalled the last great adventure I'd embarked on before running for Senate: "I climbed Appenza Peak with my mother."

    Nisara's eyes widened in recognition. "I didn't realize Organas were such risk-takers."

    Mother nearly died on her way down from the summit during her first climb, so it had been a mark of her resiliency that she had accepted my invitation to come. I nodded without divulging this information.

    "We've dared much more," I pointed out, "but no, the royal house is not known for extreme mountaineering. You?"

    She adjusted the straps on her pack, looking worried that she had said something out of line. Perhaps my tone had been sharp or she was taken aback by my simple answer.

    "My guardian realized early on that, when I had bad times, it would often help me to clear my head in open air," she said simply. "I've been making time for it ever since."

    "I thought it might help you too" was the unspoken point. I took a moment to enjoy the open air and considered a less abrupt response.

    "Father had a similar approach," I said. When I was young, I was a troubled sleeper and Mother says that he would have to let me fall asleep on the balcony. I never insisted on it, but it helped me calm myself to be in my parents' arms underneath the stars."

    I can't remember when I stopped needing that, but I do remember that I was on the family balcony when the election results came in because at times that it was difficult to breathe, the air out there seemed to have a different composition. It was more soothing and smelled of the lorna blossoms and I had never had cause to feel genuine distress there.

    "I associate pathfinding with friends," I continued, since Nisara had not interrupted my thoughts.

    She nodded, looking less uncomfortable than she had a minute ago. "I was hoping that was the case. You're welcome to join me on any day that you need to and this is not my only path. Friends are welcome, but contention is not. I'll never take offense if you decide to stay in and I will never turn you away if you need to come out here."

    It had been two hours and no one had asked me if I was "all right." My new friend knew that the term was a relative one and did me a service by inviting me to a place where I did not need to put on a brave face for anyone. This was a good day, but I will be grateful for this offer when I can't remember what a good day is.
     
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful bit of banter with Han, in true classic OT fashion! [face_love] Nisara is a great friend, someone who can balance questions that invite confiding without being pushy. [face_thinking] Leia's equating open air/being under the stars with regaining serenity -- very much something I can believe. @};-
     
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  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Wow, I just caught up with this diary and you paint a Leia that is strong and weak at the same time. Amazing character study. Plus you give us so much background on her upbringing by the Queen and Vice Roy of Alderaan.

    Sorry, that I cannot thing about more clever words, but after a 9 hour day at the crèche today I feel a bit like a little sheep.
     
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  15. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    I’m not dead. I just had a date on Tuesday, a standing appointment on Wednesday, ticket to Itzhak Perlman tonight. Tomorrow, after my board meeting, I’ll write out the very emotionally complicated thoughts of Leia at the medals ceremony.
     
  16. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Note: The scar I mention is something I came up with for Lest Ye Be Judged, but corresponds to a thing done to prisoners of the New Republic in Legacy of the Force. My interpretation of Leia's adoption is not canon, but from my universe. The mention of Luke's lifespan is an homage to Wedge saying in the X-wing books that most pilots survived a few battles during the war.

    ENTRY 7

    It has been a week since the miracle over Yavin IV and it was a miracle. In all of my very complicated feelings about what has happened since Scarif, I have to remember that simple fact. It was a confluence of factors, from the fact that we had a fledgling Jedi in our ranks to the number of pilots who gave their lives to ensure the possibility of a second run, to Han's intervention. I remember having ragged fingernails and cold perspiration on my brow as I heard that the Death Star was in range. I was the only person in that room who could have said the number of seconds that it took for the super-laser to acquire its target and fire, but did not want to admit to anyone how close to running out the chrono we all came on that day. I don't want to think about what would have happened if the Death Star had fired and those pilots had been stranded without a home base to return to. Those sorts of thoughts are perfect fodder for more nightmares that I cannot afford to fit into my schedule. It is difficult enough to think of how little I have left of my pre-Yavin days, never mind contemplating the worst-case scenario for any of my friends.

    Today, I stood as the obsolete and uncrowned monarch of an erstwhile world and thanked two men, a Wookiee, and two droids for their first acts of incredible heroism. There should have been a medal for Chewie, but Han said at one point that his first mate puts much more stock in debts owed and repaid than anything material and I will find many ways to repay the debts. Luke, for the first time, looked at home in the role of Hero of the Rebellion. He was visibly humbled by the accolades, but had no difficulty knowing what this standing represents. Han rolled his eyes when he wasn't sending me roguish winks, but I knew that no amount of metal could influence his "I-told-you-so" self-confidence. I think he accepted it for the conversation piece as well as the wheedling he forestalled from Luke.

    The commendation is a simple one referring to "services above and beyond the call of duty" and "heroic efforts in promoting freedom for all sentient beings of the galaxy." I based it on the words that Father scribed for some of the Jedi who rendered services to Alderaan during the Clone Wars. If I'm not mistaken, one of those speeches was made in praise of another Skywalker, but I was unable to find a record of it. Most of the people we admired before the Republic died perished with it.

    What I could not have put into the words of the commendation is much more personal. The Battle of Yavin IV was not the first time I had been saved at the last minute. I knew I was to be terminated immediately on Tarkin's orders and there was not much ceremony to stand on where that was concerned. When a stormtrooper arrived, I thought for a moment that he had come to do the final preparations for the execution. I have a scar on my arm that neither Luke nor Han has seen, but it is where the prisoner chip is implanted. Most prisoners of the Empire have it removed an hour before release or termination, but I was not most prisoners and it would have been set aside as one of Tarkin's trophies once my time of death had been confirmed. I had not accepted my own death, but I did not fear it. It would galvanize support for the Rebellion and I would join the roll of the martyrs. When my comrades mounted an attack, they would remember the sacrifices of Rebel agents and Princess Leia in facilitating that assault.

    My body would have been incinerated at the same time as Tarkin's when the station exploded, but I would have been long past caring. When I learned I was to finally die, I thought of seeing my parents again and telling them how very sorry I was for being a thrice-cursed fool. I thought that, once I had made my peace with them and perhaps received their forgiveness, I could meet the woman who gave me life before the Organas took me in. Father never named her because she was an adversary of the Emperor and my adoption was a closely-guarded secret, but I wish I had known her. I thought of the friends I lost too young and finally having a chance to give them an accounting of what I did with the time they bought me. I hoped they considered it time well spent.

    When I had run out of time, these strange heroes on a piece of junk Corellian freighter blundered into my cell and bafflingly snatched me from the jaws of hell. It was hours before I had time to realize that they had not only saved my life, but given me time for a new life. There is no knowing if I'll live more than a few weeks when out of the protective shelter of my diplomatic and political life. Luke's profession has an alarming mortality rate, but there are no statistics for a woman who escaped Vader to sit at a comm station eight hours a day.

    I can't think about how long it will be before I have the chance to embrace Father, to tell Mother about the fortuitous events of why I did not arrive at the afterlife sooner. My nightmares remind me nightly of how close I came to death several times--I know that Vader had time to plot with Tarkin because one of his interrogations led to a casual need for medical resuscitation--but I have to live and it is thanks to a smuggler, a farmboy, a walking carpet, an astromech, and the most fussy interpreter ever constructed that I can.

    That is not something that I can articulate on a commendation.

    Perhaps the greatest moment of the day was not the medals ceremony or the clean-out-the-storage banquet that followed. It was when a familiar voice asked if they could sit with me and I looked up to find Mon Mothma had joined in the festivities. She is treated with reverence by most of the soldiers here, though Luke stammered over his introduction and Han saluted rather flippantly while making a remark about her being a bigger troublemaker than himself. She treated them with friendly dignity, but walked me back to my room afterwards.

    I expected a rousing speech when she offered to walk me to my rooms, but she asked after my health and my new duties. Unlike Willard, she did not think of asking me to do more or be more. She did not ask if I could tell her when I would be able to fill my father's shoes. She embraced me without asking for permission, but I felt comfortable with it.

    Given that she is the leader of the rebel effort, she could have demanded my records from the medcenter, but she allowed me to talk about the mending bones that still pain me at times and what a relief it will be for some of the nerve damage to be reversed by the therapy I have scheduled. She did, however, suggest one more path to healing. In fact, she announced that I would be hearing from a counselor in the next day and that, while it was not a mandatory treatment, she would consider it an affront if I did not accept this accommodation at least once.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    What a compelling description: "the obsolete and uncrowned monarch of an erstwhile world." Han's and Luke's reactions to the commendation are very much in character. Mothma's gentle approach is just what's needed. It encourages healing and participation without being pushy or "nosy". [face_thinking]
     
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  18. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    In the ESB novelization, it talks about Leia saying a prayer said sometimes on an erstwhile world called Alderaan when Han and Luke are missing. That line is the basis I used for the religion I invented for Alderaan years and years ago and I love using the word erstwhile with Leia because of it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  19. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Wonderful entries. Leia is beginning the painful task of finding new friends, new family to take on the roles destroyed when Alderaan was destroyed. The image of the Organas mountaineering was a pretty impressive sight; but as I understand it Alderaan is Space!Switzerland so it makes sense.

    Kind of reminds me of what Meghan Markle said recently. One is expected to simply soldier on, even if the circumstances are miserable for you.

    Very interesting to read the medal ceremony from her perspective. In the movies she is relegated to a secondary role here (she should be getting her own darn medal). The idea that she already recognizes herself as an anachronism really hits home. She has to completely define herself. How can she be a princess if there is no throne to ascend? What makes her royalty if the entire rest of the royal family is gone?

    I suspect Mon Mothma will be a valuable mentor to her, and will look over her like a mother. It was nice to see her quiet strength as she spoke with Leia.
     
  20. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Very deep thoughts of Leia. Questioning everything, even herself and her legacy. But she goes on with her life in her service of others.
     
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  21. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha--I've never written much with Mon Mothma and usually after Endor. I remember really being struck by her in Rogue One, so chose to use her here.
    2. divapilot--Thanks, diva. The mountaineering thing is actually from Leia, Princess of alderaan. She climbs that mountain with Breha and finds out at the end of the book that Breha's nearly dying when she fell on the way down is why she wasn't well enough to have children. It took me off-guard, but also, that book makes her adoption a very open secret, which I do not get. I hadn't heard that Meghan comment, but it's appropriate. The medal ceremony has no dialogue, but says so much.
    3. AzureAngel2--Thanks. Glad you enjoyed.
    Note: The gibberish herein is my created language, Taiald. If you've read my Leia stuff before, you probably have seen it at least once.
    *
    ENTRY 8

    Late last night, my datapad tone woke me. I have it set that all messages not from a member of command are archived until morning. This was from Willard and announced that Carlist Rieekan would be arriving the next day. I checked with flight control and got his ship's estimated arrival time. I traded my shift with Dern Relo so I would have all day free. Then I waited.

    Unfortunately, I am not inconspicuous in the hangar. RIeekan's transport cleared the sentry line at 0917 and did not land until 0946. In the intervening time, I was noticed and I found Han, Luke, and Chewie trying to find a comfortable place to loiter nearby at approximately 0926.

    "You look ready to dance or ready to be sick," Han explained. "I thought it was worth watching and Luke got the idea that you were maybe waiting for an old friend. We couldn't miss meeting one of those."

    I think they were more concerned with my nerves over reuniting with said old friend and were there in case I needed moral support. I admit that, while I have not had nightmares against how I might be treated by the people who would have, one day, been my subjects, I was not prepared to take it for granted that all would go smoothly. I appreciated that the three of them put aside their tasks to keep an eye on me.

    My vision blurred when I saw Commander Rieekan's world-weary face. No matter his reception, he is the first person to arrive who loves Alderaan as much as my parents did. I watched him earn those worry lines when I was a child and he was in the Royal House and I cannot express what a comfort it was to see them.

    At Aldera, he would have bowed to me, but he embraced me as if I were a favorite niece and neither of us made mention of the formality that he was abandoning. I'm not sure how long it lasted, but we both trembled with tears during that display of fondness.

    Then we pulled apart and he said "Sevane met etteu." The traditional words spoken to those who have suffered a loss. They are meant to leave peace with those who remain behind, but we are two v'Taiaketh who do not know exactly how many of us remain. His invocation in Taiald earned him a kiss on the cheek before I introduced him to my heroes.

    Traditionally, he should have been debriefed first, but with permission, I brought him to his new room and invited him to lunch. He accepted the invitation, but asked me to sit with him for some time first. Like Mon Mothma, he first asked after my well-being, but wanted to share his experience with what Rebels are now calling The Disaster as short-hand for the catastrophe that rendered us both refugees. It is no surprise that he was saved through service to my father's cause, something that he insists we have in common. His return was delayed, not by indecision, but the fact that local Imperial forces had tightened security in the aftermath of the news and it took some time for him to obtain passage.

    It is a cruel mercy that he had those days to process our loss, but I feel fortunate that my response to the trauma was set aside in the face of duty for some time. Distractions were necessary, but palliative care. He witnessed my account of what happened over Alderaan, but the most difficult part of our discussion came when he could not find words to respond to that story. I would have welcomed a hasty judgment and would have disbelieved a prompt reassurance.

    His eventual response was between the two: "I understand why you feel responsible."

    It did not absolve me of my guilt or condemn me, but suggested that he needed time to respond properly to a complicated situation. As a person who may not ever respond properly to how complicated things were under Vader's care, I respect that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  22. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    ENTRY 9

    Rieekan came to my comm station this morning and asked if I would have lunch with him. We spent a great deal of time yesterday, even with the inherent discomfort that came from the conversation of why we are now refugees, and I was not sure if he wanted to make our interactions a standing appointment or if he had more to discuss with me. I suspected that he wanted to elaborate on my feelings of guilt. I accepted, not just because he is a friend, but because I had less vivid nightmares last night after voicing my terrors yesterday.

    No matter his intentions, the subject matter was not one for public ears. We took our food to a briefing room that I knew would not be used for a few hours. His opening remark was unexpected: "I suspect that I judged you too harshly yesterday, Your Highness, and I apologize."

    I shook my head and swallowed before responding. "You judged me no more than I judge myself."

    "I didn't say I approve of that. You're taking the blame onto yourself for what other men did."

    It was a more articulate version of what several people have said, ranging from Luke to Mon Mothma, but it was no more convincing than what they had said. "I do not believe that you did me any injustice, Commander."

    He sighed at that. "Your Highness, we are two members of a very small tribe at the moment," he said. "Standing on ceremony is fine for public occasions, but I wish you would call me Carlist."

    My response was a slight grimace. "I have been hoping for days that someone would remember that my first name is not Your, nor my surname Highness. Luke is accommodating and Han never bothers with my title, proper or not, but doesn't call me by my own name, either. I wish you would call me Leia."

    "Your father would balk at it."

    I was fond of him in that moment for respecting that Father would want me shown respect. "My parents were well aware of my need for a circle of friends. Alderaan will..."

    I stopped at that. Mother was fond of saying that Alderaan will not stop turning if I allow myself a moment of weakness, but our topic of discussion had everything to do with the time that Alderaan stopped turning when I was forced into a moment of vulnerability.

    "As you wish," Carlist murmured, seeming to remember the words that went without saying.

    Once I had found my voice again, I took the conversation in a new direction. "How long will you be on-station?"

    "I'm not sure yet," he confessed. "I'm now at the direct beck and call of Intelligence and I may be assigned to a desk job for weeks or I may leave tomorrow to infiltrate an installation."

    "And you wouldn't be able to tell me either way," I guessed.

    "You will certainly know if I remain here," he amended. "You seem to have settled in to your own satisfaction, so I will know where to find you as well."

    "I find myself being sociable with the newest Heroes of the Rebellion in my downtime," i added.

    "So I had noticed." It was the first time he smiled since we arrived. "Unfortunate nicknames aside, they seem to be good companions."

    "They are," I agreed. "If we could commit Han to an official role, I think he would find our efforts well-suited to his philosophies, if not his usual tactics. Chewie is loyal to people, not to causes, but hates the Empire as much as you or I."

    "Companions, not conscripts," Carlist clarified. "You seem to breathe easier around them."

    I did not deny that.
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Super discussion and very accurate descriptions of Han and Chewie. :)
     
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  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    One almost wonders if Han and Chewie will join the good cause... [face_thinking][face_laugh]:p:D
     
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  25. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    My apologies for temporary absence. I got to Thursday of last week and had a chance to do an exciting project for my side work. That turned out to be a near-catastrophe that led to another issue that led to me being horrendously stressed out until Tuesday. I'll do responses in the next post.
    *
    ENTRY 10

    When arranging our initial meeting, my counselor asked if there were times that I thought would be better than others to meet. My first instinct was to suggest he be on call in the middle of the night, when I was likely to be avoiding sleep, but in the end, I suggested that we meet for breakfast in my rooms at least once a week. I would handle the food and he would ensure that I was able to make it to my shift on time. Odd as it may seem to the people who think the job is beneath a Princess of Alderaan, I find comfort and stability in the work

    We met today for the first time and I was not surprised that his first order of business was a battery of questions. He is in no way attempting to make me feel interrogated, but it will save him a great deal of time if I provide straightforward answers first. I recognized diagnostic criteria for several disorders scattered through the session and, having studied psychology for two semesters in my schooling, could tell him what I suspect about myself, but I do not wish him to feel as if I'm dismissing his methods.

    I am still a diplomat. I am being sent to counseling for post-traumatic stress and worrying that my stated messages will have a negative impact on our future interactions. Father would laugh, but he would also understand. Mother would gently suggest that I consider the impact of my messages on my own feelings, but also smile when she said that I did not learn this hyperawareness from my mother's side of the family.

    Garon Taal, my counselor, is a Corellian. I am not sure if Han would approve of this, though it hardly matters. Perhaps, in the future, I'll have a better understanding of the one by knowing the other. He is the base counselor, but is a capable mechanic who helps with droid repairs among other things. It seems that Willard first thought of pairing us when he brought R2-D2 back from the brink.

    We finished breaking bread together ten minutes before I was due at my post. By the time we parted, he knew that the reasons I receive therapy at the medcenter are merely the most physical evidence of the damage that was done between Scarif and Yavin. He offered medications, which I refused politely. Our conversation confirmed that I am troubled by recurring nightmares, so he knows that I have sleepless nights as a form of self-defense. He set an appointment, but gave me his personal comm code so I can call on him at any time. He stressed those last two words, knowing that I would take into consideration his schedule and energy levels.

    I'm not sure yet what good he will do, but it was good to feel that I was proactively addressing my own problems. That itself is another form of self-defense.