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Saga - PT Notes from the Field [exploring non-Human cultures for the 2021 Fanfiction Summer Olympics]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Seldes_Katne, Jul 2, 2021.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wonderful answer to the tired old “Planet of Hats” stereotypes we too often get with aliens in the GFFA (and of which I have been guilty myself on several occasions [face_blush] ). So refreshing to see some Gamorreans (and of course a Twi’lek) that don’t fit the mold we’ve too often gotten. Like so many of the wonderful alien characters you’ve introduced in these stories, Orp and Eentat aren’t just interesting from the “interested in lots of different kinds of aliens” point of view but also seem like really swell folks. (And hey, it occurs to me that the scrappy Daggari is breaking the mold of some of her species’s stereotypes, too!) If you write that story about Eentat’s niece, I’ll definitely be there. Thanks for another awesome addition to this series and to Vestri’s journey! =D=
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  2. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you. I think in some way or another, everyone in Vestri's circle of associates breaks a stereotype, or at least differentiates him/herself from the norm. (We'll get a look at one of Querth's little quirks a couple of stories from now.) Daggari's background includes being raised on Coruscant, which is almost entirely city, so she's never had the natural experiences of the typical Togruta. It shows, apparently. [face_whistling]

    There are three events left in my decathlon, and I am considering doing a set of "Follow-Up Studies" to a couple of these stories, so we may yet see Eentat's niece appear before we're done.
     
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Finally caught up. You can do a Dan Brown thriller like style very well, decoding secret meanings (of the Jedi). And you write jolly good Gamorans. :D
     
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  4. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you. The Gamorreans here kind of take after a couple of fellows I worked with at summer camp -- rough around the edges, but they basically meant well.

    Since I only had 1500 words to work with, the decoding seemed a bit too simple, but maybe that's because I already knew what it said. :)

    Anyway, next story is up tomorrow.
     
  5. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    "Called to the Dance"
    Prime Time Coverage: 500+ words of action, adventure, or excitement with your chosen character, friendship, family or couple as the star.

    Adrick Fel nodded, and the Imroosian dancer leaped; silks and ribbons in red, orange, golden yellow and black trailed and rippled behind her like flames, contrasting with her stark white skin.

    “Amazing,” breathed Vestri Dain. “This is your best work yet, Adrick.”

    “First h’off-world commission, too,” the Gungan said proudly. “Iss our dancer who mekks it look mem’rable.” The Imroosian smiled and genuflected deeply.

    “Too bad no one will get to see it,” grumbled Daggari. “The local Imperial governor has forbidden indigenous celebrations. So, it’s out with the Aleena 'Festival of the Joining,' in with ‘Empire Day’.”

    Adrick shook his head. “Spiritual rituals not fo’ show – they’s fo’ honorin’ the gods and walkin’ in right paths.”

    “Someone needs to explain that to the governor.”

    The Aleena were almost universally a friendly, hospitable people. But their Festival of the Joining, celebrated every 15 years, took hospitality to a whole new level.

    Beings of many worlds were invited to visit, to buy and sell wares, to sample food, to present shows and cultural exchanges. Vestri would be telling stories, Querth Enon would be discussing sustainable farming practices, Daggari’s spouse Neshu would present a brief history of the region, and hovercam-cam droid Zeta would be recording some of the cultural events.

    The atmosphere had been festive and open-hearted – until the Empire showed up.

    “The people of Aleen are hereby forbidden to continue their barbaric rituals,” the garrison commander’s hologram had stated. “The Empire expects all citizens to embrace civilized behavior. Beginning today, we are instituting the celebration of Empire Day!”

    At first, the Aleena had embraced the idea. After all, it was a celebration, right? The more the merrier! Here, have a spot in the parade! Their enthusiasm level had plunged when the Empire’s troops set up camp on the Plateau of the Elements and chased off the dancers chosen to perform the Ritual of the Joining. Several had been arrested and locked up, along with vendors and performers whose arts were deemed “too barbaric” by the garrison commander. The Aleen king himself had vainly protested.

    Vestri glanced around at her science team. “Look, we represent Coruscant University. That should garner enough respect to at least get us a meeting. Let me talk to the king. Zeta, would you mind translating?”

    “Not at all.”
    ~*~*~*~*~​

    Manchucho, King of the Aleena, explained through Zeta, “We must perform this dance. The Goddess Orphne herself commanded it long ago. Every 15 years, we are to gather on the Plateau of the Elements, with dancers representing many different people, to show that we can live in harmony with all beings of good will. Even the Kindalo are represented, although they cannot attend in person.” He gestured to a tree-like humanoid figure made of sticks; it stood as tall as three adult Aleena.

    “We have three days to perform this dance,” Manchucho continued. “If we fail to do so, the Goddess will become angry and cause the ground to shake. She will then destroy one-half of the Plateau. If we still do not perform the dance, the rest of the Plateau will crack and be swallowed up by the ground.”

    “Has there ever been a time when the Dance wasn’t performed?” Vestri asked.

    Manchucho shook his head. “Never. Why wouldn’t we perform it? It is part of our history. We do indeed wish to live in harmony with all beings of good will. It’s an honor to participate. And it’s beautiful to watch. We’ve been looking forward to seeing the costumes your friend has designed for this year’s ritual. Since it’s always performed by different people, the Dance is never exactly the same.”

    Vestri nodded. “We’ve been looking forward to it as well. I’ll see if I can arrange a meeting with the garrison commander. I hope we can come to a mutually-beneficial arrangement.”


    ~*~*~*~*~​

    When Vestri and Zeta returned to their camp, they found Adrick studying a large rock. “My was told dis’n the one dancing as Soil,” Adrick said, a note of skepticism in his voice. “Not sure how it kenn dance. Diss’n a rock.”

    Zeta hovered before the rock. “He says his name is Saphiro,” Zeta said. “He’s from Vint.”

    Vestri’s gaze flicked from Zeta to Saphiro. “How does he communicate with you, Zeta?”

    “I’m not sure,” the droid replied. “He just … does.”

    “Huh. Well, it’s nice to meet you, Saphiro.” The Vintian’s silence at least seemed friendly.

    Adrick glanced at Vestri, who nodded. The Gungan tilted his head in his race’s version of a shrug and shook out the costume – four panels of leather and suede in browns, greys and blacks, with a dull red streak in the centers, designed to be tied around the dancer like a cloak. “Right-o, den. T’ought the measurements were wrong,” Adrick remarked, “but my followed dem anyways. Less try diss'n on yous, Saphiro.”

    “All right. I’m heading off to meet with the commander,” Vestri said. “I’ll take Neshu and Querth with me – they’re both large enough to command some attention but are calm enough to avoid making anyone jumpy. Let’s see if we can sort this out.”

    ~*~*~*~*~​

    “Well, that could have gone better,” Neshu remarked. He, Querth and Vestri were sharing a detention cell with the feisty female Selonian Water dancer. The otter-like being had threatened to start biting troopers if they didn’t clear the dance area.

    A Human male in Imperial greys appeared outside their cell. “I’m sorry about this,” said Lieutenant Ersher, the third-ranking Imperial officer. “I suggested that we would get more cooperation from the natives if we allowed the dance to go on, but the Commander has ordered our regiment to take up position on the Plateau of the Elements. He plans to stay there until the deadline passes, to show the Aleena that their ritual is meaningless.”

    “I guess we’ll all find out,” Vestri remarked. “Tomorrow we pass the deadline.”

    ~*~*~*~*~​

    Hours later, the ground was trembling. Lt. Ersher appeared, shouting, “Release the prisoners from the cells! We all need to be able to move them out if the ground collapses!” He turned to Vestri and handed her a communicator. “We’ve received a transmission from your droid.”

    Vestri switched the communicator on. “Zeta, where are you?”

    “I’m in the underground caverns!”

    “How did you get down there?”

    “Saphiro brought me.”

    Neshu frowned. “Saphiro’s a rock. How could it – “

    Zeta interrupted. “The Aleena believe the Kindalo are causing the quakes, and Saphiro and I thought we could persuade them to stop before anyone got hurt. But the Kindalo aren’t doing this. They’re afraid the shaking will open the ground and let in the planet’s atmosphere, which they say is poisonous. Saphiro says the source of the quakes is literally all around us!”

    “You two get somewhere safe. We’re just going to have to ride this out!” Vestri followed the others out of the detention area.

    On the Plateau of the Elements, the Imperial troopers were staggering and falling. Weapons were useless – there was no tangible enemy.

    Cracks exploded open. Massive stone slabs heaved upward, tipped over, disappeared into crevasses. The sound of grating stone and collapsing earth filled the air. As the onlookers watched, the earthquake consumed the Imperial forces. A few minutes later, the ground settled.

    Half the plateau was gone, along with the troops. The civilian festivalgoers stared in silence at the empty plain.

    Finally, Lt. Ersher spoke. “I appear to be the ranking officer,” he said, voice trembling slightly. He turned to another trooper. “Call in any survivors.”

    The final count of Imperials was 17.

    ~*~*~*~*~​

    “What will you tell your superiors?” Vestri asked Ersher the next day. Aonda, the Twi'lek physician, reported that the festival participants were all unharmed; they had cleaned up the area and prepared to continue the events. Miraculously, the city itself had been spared the worst of the quake.

    “The truth, suitably edited. Most of our company was caught in a massive earthquake and could not escape in time. No one was at fault. The planet is geologically unstable and not fit for occupation. The natives may stay if they wish, but there will be no Imperial garrison stationed here.”

    “I’m certain the Aleena will appreciate being left in peace,” Neshu remarked.

    Ersher smiled slightly. “I’m a local. I was born and raised in this region. This is my third time attending this festival. The first time, I was a young boy. The second time, I was twenty.” His smile broadened. “The Human dancing as Air that year was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. When I finally worked up the nerve to speak to her, I discovered she was gracious and kind-hearted as well. We’ll be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary this year.”

    After accepting everyone’s congratulations, Ersher said, “I joined our regional security force to keep this area safe and secure for everyone. If that’s really the goal of this new Empire, I hope they change their tactics. Let the people retain their cultures, as long as they’re harming no one.” He turned to Vestri. “I look forward to tonight’s Dance.”

    "So do the rest of us. And not just because it's the Goddess's orders."

    ~*~*~*~*~​

    “In the beginning, the Goddess dwelt alone in the Universe,” Vestri began. Zeta was amplifying the Human’s voice. “But she longed for companionship. And so she sang the Soil into being, that her companions might walk upon solid ground.” The lights came up, revealing Saphiro in his costume. A hooded figure in black and orange stood beside him. They occupied a space in the unbroken half of the Plateau.

    “The Goddess sang Water into being, that her companions might be refreshed and cleansed.” The Selonian portraying Water whirled into the dance area, her costume all flowing blues and purples and silver.

    “Then the Goddess sang Air into being, that her companions might feel the cooling breeze and smell all the scents of nature.” An elderly Fosh male danced as Air, even though his people had been flightless for generations. His costume of silver, grey, white and blue floated about him.

    “At last, the Goddess sang Fire into being, that her companions might know the warmth of friendship and see the faces of those around them!” The Imroosian leaped flaming into the dance area; applause and cheers followed.

    “And the Goddess then called forth companions from everywhere in the galaxy.” Scores of beings, dressed in their Festival finery, ran out onto the Plateau and danced in place among the Elements.

    “And so tonight, we invite all who wish to live in harmony with others of good will to join us on the Plateau. Enjoy the company of all your companions and the Goddess who gave us these gifts!”

    End


    Notes: Far and away my favorite new character from the new novels of The High Republic series is Geode, who appears in Claudia Gray’s Into the Dark. He, like Saphiro, is from Vint, and is a great concept. He's basically a rock. After all, Star Trek had the Horta….

    Some of the other non-Humans appearing here:

    Aleena The Aleena “Festival of the Joining” is complete fabrication, but sigils depicting the four elements do appear in the Clone Wars episode “Mercy Mission,” which takes place on the planet Aleen. This is also where we meet the Kindalo and Orphne (who may or may not be an actual goddess). Aleen Ratts Tyerell appeared as one of the podracers in TPM.

    Selonians Otter-like beings, perfect as representatives of Water.

    Fosh. In gizkaspice's Xenobiology Challenge, Kit' received the Fosh as her species, and her story "Intruders" can be found here.

    Imroosians Their planet is actively volcanic, making them an excellent choice to dance Fire.
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Satisfying conclusion for the Aleena and to the ff Olympics
     
  7. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Wonderfully written. I of course know a lot of chants to the four elements and HER. [face_whistling]

    What I love even more about this is that you show how being religious is all of the sudden forbidden by the Empire. Well, they dug out their own graves here and faced devine anger.

    Also perfect writing because you have "a local boy" involved in this. And a happy end, mind the lost/killed Imperial soldiers.
     
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  8. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Great work! I really like the concept of the Aleena's festival. They sound like a good people who embrace the ideals of the celebration in practice during the other 14 years as well, not just paying lip service to it when the festival comes around and reminds them of it. The amount of time between celebrations would help to keep each one memorable and special, I would imagine. And as we see here, unfortunately that's also enough time for some external factors to change in between.

    These sentences are so happy. I can totally picture the Aleena gleefully trying to give the Empire a spot in the parade.

    I LOL'ed. I would've been right there with Adrick.

    d'oh! :oops:I'm glad they tried to fix things, though.

    I liked Ersher. He's a good example of how different cultures can entwine and affect different individuals even from other species.

    Great job! =D=
     
  9. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I love how you incorporated other species into the Dance and nice to see the Aleena featured!
     
  10. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    I'm sure the Aleena are happy to continue the party. :)

    Oh? Do tell. I'd love to hear more about this.

    Well, you know, gotta civilize those savages... :rolleyes:

    I've been watching the first season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which deals with the early days of the Empire, and there seem to be a number of people who really want social stability and order, and don't understand what kind of a price they and their neighbors will have to pay for it. It's possible to find people in the Empire's army who aren't terrible people -- yet....

    Thank you. This story was originally going to be about the Aki-Aki's Festival of the Ancestors (from The Rise of Skywalker), but 42 years between festivals just wouldn't fit my timeframe, so this is where we ended up. Still an interesting planet and people, and fun to research.

    The Aleena ended up being a cool species to write about -- they have a child-like openness to them, but still maintain a fairly advanced civilization. I found them by researching anything in Star Wars having to do with the Four Elements, and the elements played a role in the episode Mercy Mission, so this worked out.


    Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting!
     
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    great to show the rock species and the aleena with their rituals and the lovely ending of your olympics
     
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  12. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you. Writing about the Vintians is fun ("but - but - but - it's a rock!" :D), and the Aleena were a pleasant surprise. I really didn't know much about them when I started researching them. Glad you enjoyed it!


    ~*~*~*~*~*~​

    The next two events are very short, so I'm posting them both at once.
     
  13. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    "What We Do for Our Friends"
    100 Word Sprint: A 100 word drabble about your character, family, friendship or couple using any theme.

    Vestri stared at the tickets. “An Ishi Tib concert? I’ve heard rumors….”

    “They’re all true,” Aonda assured her. “I went last time. I lasted 10 minutes.”

    Vestri read the pamphlet. “In addition to sirens, the orchestra consists of 30 instruments, including four sets of drums – “

    “-- Pounding on hide – ”

    “ – eight sets of bells – “

    “ – Pounding on metal – “

    “ – and six different xylophones.”

    “ – Pounding on wood.”

    “And Querth wants to attend this?”

    “You think you know a guy, right?” The Twi’lek handed Vestri a box. “You’ll want these. Trust me.”

    The box contained ear plugs.




    Note: It seems that the Ishi Tib really do love loud music. (Fourth paragraph under "Society".) Apparently so does Querth.... o_O
     
  14. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    "Balance"
    Water Polo Poetry: a piece of poetry written in any style about your character, couple, family, friendship, etc.

    Within oneself, find it.
    Within one’s family unit, create it.
    Within one’s community, strive for it.
    Within one’s species, seek it in others.
    Upon one’s world or dwelling-place, teach all to live it and send them forth to share it.

    Between light and dark, we all walk.
    Between foolishness and wisdom, we all walk.
    Between youth and age, we all walk.
    Between grief and joy, we all walk.

    In balance, may I walk.
    In balance, may we walk.
    In balance may we always be.


    -- Perindor Simmenolos, Lasat Shaman and Poet Laureate.
    From Collected Poems, Prayers and Meditations on the Force,
    edited by Kozem Pel, Disciple of the Whills

    (a copy of which was gifted to Vestri Dain by her friend Kethuthasing, two years after the Battle of Endor, when it was once again safe to openly acknowledge the Jedi).
     
  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love entry about the loud music needing earplugs
    and your poetry is stunning
     
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  16. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Ooh, Ishi Tib! That's one I recognize. :cool: I like how casually the sirens were mentioned in the pamphlet--just another normal concert, heh. I hope those are some Grade A earplugs. Vestri's a good sport for going to the concert with Querth.

    I really like the poem. It's definitely got a Jedi feel to its message and its simplicity while still being profound, and the heart of it seems to reflect how and why Vestri is learning about other cultures.

    Great work! =D=
     
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  17. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    I think a lot of concerts should have that particular warning advertised about them.
    Oh. "Stunning!" :D I would have settled for "good" or "cool" or whatever, but "stunning" is high praise indeed. Thank you!


    I've been to a couple of pop/rock concerts (long ago in my youth, thankfully) that I think featured all those instruments (including sirens) and really should have included complimentary earplugs. These days I stick to my local Philharmonic Orchestra concerts -- much easier on the eardrums.

    Thank you. After I finished it, I realized the poem actually has the cadence of some of the Dineh (Navajo) poetry I've read: "With beauty before me, With beauty behind me, With beauty beside me...." I didn't have Vestri in mind when I wrote it, but you're right, it does fit.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!
     
  18. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    So glad to be caught up on this again—what wonderful and varied entries showing the whole range of sentient experience in our beloved GFFA!

    “Called to the Dance”: Beautiful coming together of divers beings to keep the Aleena tradition of the Ritual of the Joining alive! Breathtaking descriptions and fanon here—I love how so many different beings of various species took part in the dance—perhaps the elderly flightless Fosh was my favorite, because of the way his participation honored his own people’s way-way-distant past. Though Saphiro was pretty awesome as well—and I’m curious as to how Zeta “just knows” how to communicate with him. I’m also curious about that earthquake and am going to guess that Saphiro and maybe Zeta caused it somehow? Or was it really the Goddess? (Or the Goddess working through them? ;) ) Or if the answer is “it’s for us to guess,” that’s more than all right, too! In any case, what’s most important is that the Aleena were left in peace and that the ritual went on. Wonderful stuff, as always, and you know I’m a sucker for a good alien ritual! :cool:

    “What We Do for Our Friends”: Hah, loved this! :D What we do for our friends, indeed… I am sure Vestri will make as valiant an effort as she possibly can for her friend and colleague. As to Querth, I wonder if the Ithorians’ stereophonic speech has some implication for their hearing as well, enabling them to tolerate the noise better than most? No idea, but one can speculate—perhaps this will be one of your “follow-up notes”! :D

    “Balance”: EEEE YAYYY LASAT SHAMAN POETRY!!!1! I did an absolute squee when I saw this—it’s beautiful and just spot on. And I love the added note about the book it came out of, linking back to good old Kethuthasing of a few chapters back! (Love the idea of a collection spanning several different Force traditions.) I can imagine this poem summing up the whole ethos of the poetry in the book, and as @Thumper09 notes, it really seems to sum up the whole ethos of these stories, too. Balance is something to which we non-Force-sensitive muggles would do well to aspire to, as well. (And I may ask to borrow this and/or Perindor sometime down the line, just as a heads-up! :D )

    Wonderful work on this decathlon! =D=
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
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  19. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    One of the most interesting parts of the research on this story was finding species to represent each of the elements. I spent three evenings paging through Wookieepedia articles about lava/volcanic planets, avian species, water worlds, etc. There really is a galaxy's worth of information about the GFFA.

    One of the characters from Into the Dark comments that the only people who can pronounce Geode's real name are beings without a mouth. Zeta, being a droid, technically has no mouth, and I thought she might have a greater ability to communicate with Saphiro. I suspect she's curious as to how she "just knows" as well...

    This story was one of my contenders for the "Fantastical Fencing" because it's not entirely clear what causes the earthquake. Orphne-who-may-or-may-not-be-a-goddess does appear in the underground sequence of the "Mercy Mission" episode of The Clone Wars series, so it's quite possible that she's involved at some level.... [face_thinking]

    An interesting observation, and one I confess I hadn't considered. Ithorians appear to have no external ear openings (or perhaps they can close the audio canal at will?), so I thought that might be an explanation. More research is obviously needed.

    :D This was a close as I was going to get to adding a Lasat piece to this collection (don't want to step on anyone else's specialty area and not sure I could do it justice anyway). The Lasat are among the few species who have a developed Force-related spirituality, so.... I'm happy so many people seem to like it. I'm generally not much of a poet.

    We'll get a bit more on that in the Follow-Up Studies.

    The excerpts from the Collected Poems, Prayers and Meditations on the Force (including the death-worshipping cult The Central Isopter, the Clan of the Torbota, and even the Sith) seem to come from many different traditions. So the Lasat would certainly fit right in.

    Balance is certainly a theme in the Guardians of the Whills novel; the poems in Collected span several philosophies, but I suppose they do balance each other out.

    You are welcome to use the poem and the poet if you wish. I didn't really develop any background for him/her/them, so it's an open field. Drop me a line if you do.

    Thank you, and thank you for both reading and commenting!
     
  20. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “Called to the Dance”, “What We Do for Our Friends” and “Balance” prove that you master different styles and moods easily. Great work! ^:)^
     
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  21. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
  22. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    And now for the final official event in this decathlon. As I did last summer, I’ve chosen to end my Fanfic Olympics on a lighter note. Story inspired by @AzureAngel2’s artwork originally posted on The Mythologist thread. Actual picture appears below the story.


    "Cross-Training"
    AU Archery: A story of at least 100 words set in an alternate universe with your character, family, friendship, or couple.

    FLO, the droid who served as a waitress at Dex’s Diner, wheeled over as soon as fellow waitress Hermione Bagwa walked in the door. “Hermione, what’s going on?”

    “I don’t know. I just got a com message to come in early this morning. You’re here all the time, FLO, why don’t you know?”

    “I may be here, but I have to be on the charger for a certain length of time. So do the other two droids. It’s easiest to do that when the place is closed.”

    The conversation died off when a small, furry being slid the order window open and stepped through; the assistant cook appeared behind it.

    The being sat up on its haunches, wrapped a hairless tail around its toes, and addressed the staff. “Good morning! I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve called you here early.”

    Hermione stared at it. “You called us? Who are you? Where’s Dex?”

    The being replied, “Ah, yes. Dex is going to be away for a couple of weeks, and I’m taking his place. My name is Remy.”

    Staff members exchanged puzzled glances. Dex gone and a stranger in charge? Remy looked around at their faces and continued. “I know it’s confusing, but it’s only a couple of weeks. Dex is, ah, filling in at the grand opening of a new restaurant, and I’m… filling in for him.”

    “So you’re a cook?” asked Hermione finally.

    “I’m a chef, actually.”

    “What’s the difference?”

    Remy’s mouth opened and closed a few times, but no sound emerged. Finally he put both forepaws over his eyes and recited, “Deep breath, deep breath, deep breath…” and inhaled accordingly. Hermione and FLO exchanged glances. The assistant cook took a careful step back.

    Finally Remy lowered his hands. “I’m… sorry. I’m used to operating in a slightly different work environment. This is probably going to be a learning experience for everyone involved.”

    “So, how did you end up here, if you’re used to working somewhere else?” Hermione asked cautiously.

    Remy clasped his forepaws together. “Well, it appears there was a clause in my contract that said I could be sent to a different restaurant on an ‘as needed’ basis. Apparently, someone decided I was needed here.” He lowered his voice and muttered, “I didn’t even know I had a contract, frankly…. Anyway – “ He reached through the order window and withdrew several large sheets of flimsi.

    “So, there are a few changes in the menu for the next couple of weeks.” The staff passed around copies of the offerings for the day. “Now, I know you’re not used to some of the items on here, but I promise they’re all edible. I think the customers will like them and will probably appreciate trying something new.”

    “I wouldn’t bet credits on that,” Hermione muttered to one of the other waitresses.

    Remy ignored the dig. “So, are there any questions about the menu items?”

    “Yes,” responded FLO. “What’s ‘chicken’?’

    ~*~*~*~*~​

    In a galaxy far, far away, Vestri Dain finally located the “Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo” in the Black Spire Outpost on Diss-Ney World. Honestly, she thought, who did the signage around here? Half the words are unreadable. Sure, the letters look kind of like Aurebech, but the combinations are wrong….

    To her relief, there was Dex at the counter, talking with a pair of Human women. As she approached, she could hear him trying to explain the beverage menu to them. He glanced up, caught sight of her, and look of immense relief passed over his face. He waved her over.

    “You folks let us know when you’re ready to order,” he told the women. Then, over his shoulder to another server, “I need a few minutes. Be right back.” The server, another Human, nodded and stepped up to the counter, letting Dex move off to one side. Vestri followed.

    “You have no idea how happy I am to see you,” he told her, leaning heavily on the counter. “I thought the two weeks would never be up. It’s like the people here are all chewing the luna-weed or something. I mean, seriously, how far from civilization were these people that they’ve never seen a Parkellan Sling? Or a Balmgruyt? Or eaten roast nuna?”

    Vestri nodded. “I’ll agree, this is a strange place.” She gestured at the people in the room. “I noticed it’s almost entirely inhabited by Humans.”

    “It’s always like that,” Dex told her. “It’s downright weird. Most inhabited worlds, you can’t walk down a street without running into a Twi’lek or a Gran, but here? None at all. Rumor has it that one of the shops is run by an Ithorian, but I have yet to see it.”

    “I did see it. But I’m not sure it’s really an Ithorian. It seemed…” Vestri paused to consider her words; then she leaned closer and lowered her voice. “It was like a droid, built to look like an Ithorian. Why would anyone do that, instead of just hiring an actual Ithorian?”

    “That makes no sense. And did you notice all those people walking around wearing white body armor and helmets? Maybe it was because I come from an ice planet, but I can’t imagine closing myself up in one of those outfits, especially in this heat.”

    “But you’re almost done here, right? I’ve got a device that’s supposed to get us back to Coruscant.” Vestri held up a flat rectangular box with a screen; the screen displayed more of the strange lettering, along with a picture of a building with turrets and a half-circle arcing over it. The whole thing fit in the palm of her hand. “I found it in my college mailbox with a set of instructions, but I don’t know who sent it.”

    “Yeah. I’m done in a couple of hours. Looking forward to cooking in my own kitchen again, lemme tell you.”

    “They’ll be glad to have you back, I suspect. Your replacement was an interesting fellow, but I’m sure he’s ready to go home, too.”

    Vestri flinched as a light flashed in her face. She turned to see someone holding up a rectangular device. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” the young man said, and turned away.

    Dex shook his head. “That happens all the time here.” People weren’t just watching him intently -- many of them held up similar devices that flashed; the owner would then type something on the screen and grin, sometimes sharing the screen display with those around them.

    “Weird,” Vestri murmured.

    “Yeah. And you should see the menu.” Dex passed her a copy. Vestri frowned at it. Again with the strange lettering.

    “What’s ‘chicken’?” she asked.

    “I dunno, but it seems to make up half the entrees in this place.” He nodded to the other server. “I gotta go. I’m going to finish up my shift and get out of here.”

    “Okay. I think I’ll go look around the toy store down the street until you’re done. It’s supposedly run by a Toydarian. We’ll see if this one’s real or not. I’ll be back!” She slid through the crowd and disappeared.

    Dex drew in a deep breath and returned to the front counter. The two women he’d been speaking to earlier placed their orders, paid in the strange currency of this planet (at least the cashier recognized the papers and coins), and accepted their beverages. Almost in unison, they turned their backs to Dex, held up their own devices, and grinned as the screen flashed. As they walked away, Dex heard one of them exclaim, “Wow! And I thought the animatronic Ursula on the Little Mermaid ride was realistic!”


    End


    This is AzureAngel2's art, the inspiration for this story:

    [​IMG]

    I just knew there was a story in this picture, but I couldn't get it to work for The Mythologist. Then along came this year's Summer Fanfic Olympics, and I figured it qualified for an "alternate universe" story, so here it is. Thank you to AzureAngel2 for allowing me to post both her art and the related story.

    ~*~*~*~*~​

    Although I've done my ten events, next week I'm going to do a "Post-Olympic Wrap-Up" with a few "Follow-Up Studies" for a couple of this decathlon's stories. Thank you to everyone who has read and/or responded to my events this summer -- I appreciate you all taking the time and energy to give feedback or just read through my fics.
     
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Hilarious finish. Great fun reading this.
    Congrats on completing the decathlon
     
  24. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Catching up! Congrats on finishing your decathlon! Everything from the Ishi Tib to Lasat poetry and now using @AzureAngel2's beautiful artwork to finish your final entry. It was a real pleasure to read your stories since they add so much depth to the aliens of the GFFA, something we'll probably never get from a "canon" source. Well done and hope to read more from you!
     
  25. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Great work! I can only imagine what an extended stay on Coruscant would do to Remy's poor nose, LOL. He'll be in for some surprises and will probably encounter some odd ingredients of his own.

    That sounds like a better option than booking a return ticket through Star Tours. Their flights to Coruscant usually end up with... issues.

    I've imagined my OCs walking around the relevant areas of Diss-Ney World with me, and it's always fun to think of how they'd react to certain things. I loved reading Vestri's and Dex's reactions and how they're trying to piece together what in the world is going on there, heh. Plus the oddness about the animatronic Ithorian-- that could have been a surprise if they were expecting a real one.

    Great job with the story, and great artwork by @AzureAngel2 ! Congratulations on finishing, and I'm looking forward to your wrap-up!