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Saga - Legends Out From the Shadows (OC Summer Challenge Response)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by whiskers, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    Title: Out from the Shadows
    Author: whiskers
    Challenge: Your character must walk a mile in someone else's shoes.
    Summary:: Sometimes when you take in the perspectives of someone else, it doesn't always change your mind, but it will change you.


    The Corellian-made corvette sat in deep space, unmoving save for the slightest hint of residual motion. It was the night cycle aboard the ship, the bright white hallways cast with dark grey shadows as the lighting had been dimmed.

    The walls of the cabin of Jentin Kinaus was filled with light, almost hurting the young man's blue eyes. He stood from his bed and adjusted his black hair so it stayed behind his shoulders. He rubbed at his square jaw, feeling the slightest hint of a beard upon his chin. 2320, the chronometer read on the wall. The time for action had come.

    The first hint of nervousness hit him as he removed the blaster pistol from its hidden compartment in a desk, his hands shaking and mind racing. Remember your training, he thought. His days at the Imperial Academy on Carida were not the days that shot their ways through his mind. It was the last year and everything that had happened during it.

    In the cabin next to his was the main engineer for the ship: a Quarren male named Akels. The squidhead was a practical joker and always quick with a quip. Jentin remembered one time when Akels had gotten him good, somehow hardwiring his cabin's door to open randomly in the middle of the night and turning the lights inside to their maximum brightness. It had taken a week to fix the door and he still hadn't managed to repair the lights. Jentin suppressed a laugh.

    Despite the Quarren's jocular mood, he was deadly serious about the Rebelllion. "We and the Mon Cals had always been rivals," Akels had told him over a few ales one night in the crew lounge. "Then the Empire comes and agitates the whole thing up. They even got some so riled up that they sabotaged the shields around the whole planet just so the Empire could go and send in the slavers." The Quarren's facial tentacles riled in what Jentin would only classify as some sort of revulsion and he downed another drink.

    The Empire had always looked down upon alien species. Jentin knew this from a very young age and thanked whatever divine beings that existed that he was born human. He didn't necessarily agree with the Empire's stance on the subject and it hadn't been the reason that he had joined the crew of the Veritas. The Empire had still been reeling from the Clone Wars, a conflict that was started by numerous alien being against the already corrupt Republic. Certain restrictions had to be enacted to keep those that had been desperately wounded by the actions of said alien species to prevent outright genocide.

    Jentin walked down the hallway and passed another door and then another. Each of the crew members had come to the this ship, to the Rebellion, for their own reasons. He paused beside one door. Alli Vela was in those quarters. She had joined that rebel cell because her mother had been murdered by Imperial stormtroopers while attending a peaceful protest on her homeworld.

    Order. That was the main thing that every single member of the crew had been striving for in some form or the other. Each of them were looking for the randomness and pettiness of the galaxy to be defined and reshaped: Corrupt politicians making decisions that went against the welfare of the citizens. Rogue soldiers carrying out their duties to keep the peace by overstepping their boundaries. Each of these was why the Empire was formed 15 years ago and why Leco Daam had joined it.

    He had been a bright student and always quick in the mind. His words were well chosen and said; always the right thing to say at the right time. When it was time to leave secondary school behind and head to higher education, he remembered what the mandatory recruitment test had recommended for him when he had taken it years before: Intelligence.

    Leco walked past the cabins of the rebel crew that he had infiltrated. Nearly a year of work had been for naught, as no matter how close to the crew he had gotten, the name of their benefactor had eluded him. He had even sliced into the computer records one night, only to find nothing that could be of any use to Imperial Intelligence. His primary objective had been a failure, but his secondary goal could still be fulfilled.

    His footsteps echoed slightly off of the corvette's engine room walls. The room was dark, lit only by the blue glow of the main reactor. It was unmanned, the skeleton crew of the ship not enough to man it at every hour of the day.

    Doubt set itself firmly in the Imperial agent's mind as he removed the small explosive charge from his pocket and began to place it on the hyperdrive motivator. Traitors though they may be, the crew of the ship had been friendly to him and accepted him as one of their own. Despite the political differences that they had unknowingly shared--at least on their part--he had come to count several of them as friends. He knew them well enough to know that they wouldn't be taken by the Empire peacefully. They would fight against the overwhelming odds that the Empire would throw at them and they would die trying, taking as many Imperials out as they could.

    That would be their decision, though. Their road to a martyrdom that wouldn't even be remembered in five years time. It was their own fate in their hands, and his own were as clean as they could be. Daam's false reassurance did nothing for his own conscience as he placed the small bomb onto the casing of the hyperdrive.

    He stepped out of the engine room and headed towards the escape pods. The corvette had no hangar and thus no way to hold a smaller vehicle for him to steal and flee, so the small escape pods would have to do until the Empire could pick him up. He checked the chronometer on his wrist. Only a scant ten minutes had passed since he had activated the hidden HoloNet transceiver inside of his quarters and the small Imperial force stationed a system away would soon arrive.

    The escape pod's airlock door slammed shut behind him and with it went the last bit of the Jentin Kinaus persona that Leco Daam had crafted for the mission. The friendships that Jentin had made were real enough, but Daam could never find it in his heart to mourn traitors. And yet when the Imperial corvettes arrived in system, large wedge-shaped ships that would have passed for miniature star destroyers if it weren't for the blade-resembling protrusions that jutted off of its side, and opened fire upon the rebel craft, part of him wished that the stubborn crew would have just surrendered. They would be interrogated for any information that they knew, and that interrogation would go into torture at one point, but they would still be alive at the end of the day.

    The rebel corvette fought back as valiantly as it could against the might of the Imperial raiders, red blaster fire clashing with the green being spewed by its foes, the ship moving as fast as it could to find a clear lane to escape. And there was the moment that he knew that Alli had discovered that the hyperdrive had been tampered with. The ship kept its forward trajectory before veering off to port. The Imperials must have anticipated such an action, however, as they focused their fire on the rebel ship.

    Small explosions hit the corvette as its shields failed and still the rebels on board kept firing at the Raiders. Of course the crew would keep fighting to the bitter end, Daam thought solemnly. Another explosion rocked the ship from the engine compartment as a turbolaser shot connected. Then another as the small connector between the large engine pods and the rest of the hull. Chain reactions issued through the corvette, bright orange plumes of flame that erupted out into space before dying in the cold vacuum. The debris from the ship floated listlessly in space.

    "Rebellion escape pod," a voice said over the comm system. "You've activated an Imperial transceiver on board. Confirm your identity or be boarded.

    He gave them his name and serial number and then waited as silence followed on the comm while the captain of the corvette no doubt checked his credentials. "Agent Daam, we'll be picking you up in a matter of minutes. Welcome back."

    Leco took one last look at the remains of the corvette that he had served on for several months and with it the last resting place of people that could have been his friends if they had only been able to see the reason that was the Empire. They hadn't and now they had paid the ultimate price for their treason.

    The Imperial agent leaned back in the acceleration couch of the escape pod, secure in his crash restraints and watching as one of the Raider-class corvettes moved in closer to recover him. It was good to finally be home.
  2. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Excellent! Very descriptive and perfectly plausible. That was cold, but it's war. Trust no one, I guess.
    Kahara and whiskers like this.
  3. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    It certainly is war, that's for certain. I wanted to get into the mind of an Imperial Intelligence agent for a while and I really didn't want to go the defector route. Not with this guy. Not every character who's an Imperial will be with the rebels at the end of their story arc. Thank you for reading and reviewing, Divapilot. As always, I appreciate it.
    Kahara likes this.
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    great response to the challenge
    Kahara and whiskers like this.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent bit of realism on things i.e., an outlook that doesn't change (in so far as reversing itself) but broadening. [face_thinking] You remain loyal to the same cause but not like a tame sheep.
    Kahara and whiskers like this.
  6. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    Thanks for the read and review, earlybird-obi-wan. It's certainly appreciated.

    I wanted Leco to remain an Imperial, primarily because there have been so many stories in both the actual canon and in fanfic where a long-time Imperial switches sides. He's not the one to do that, in my opinion. At the same time, I wanted him to at least experience that the Rebels are simply fighting for what they believe in, just like he is. Part of him wishes that they would have been able to see reason, but at the same time he knows that they never will. Just like him. Thank you, Nyota, as always.
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  7. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Wish there was a timeline and characters' names in the introduction. Also, that is not how I quoted the challenge, I USE THE METRIC SYSTEM. O, hai, a detail-obsessed individual was here. :p 8-}

    I doubt that this was your intention, but the second paragraph - which I thought was out of place in the story until I have read it all - sounds a lot like a common depiction of young and handsome men joining the Italian fascists and related groups. I envisioned your protagonist as a GFFA take of Nito Valdi, who is played by Gabriel Garko in the Peccato e vergogna TV series, with a bit of the protagonist from Ramones' Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World thrown in. While those are not the prettiest parallels in the world, given how the story plays out, it should be a compliment.

    The whole "this is war" principle is something not many people dare to explore and most who do are either former army folk or enthusiast and therefore it looks like boosting and glorification of warfare. You are, to my knowledge, neither and therefore you didn't cross any lines here, nor would this ever look as some sort of a power fantasy.

    The descriptions of all those characters who later perish in the explosion of the corvette add up to the whole atmosphere really well. Some of their reasons are bigger, some very personal and the way the protagonist tries to rationalise their being "traitors" is clever.

    Ultimately, it's hard to write a story that's less than 5% dialogue, so you always have thumbs up from me for that. :)
    Kahara, Findswoman and whiskers like this.
  8. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    It was unintentional, as--even though I had heard the Ramones song before--I certainly hadn't seen the Italian TV show. That said, I wanted to make Leco Daam more than just a regular villain. I wanted him to not be evil for evil's sake, but to believe that each and every action that he took to be justified by his own moral code. That's how villains are supposed to be, in my opinion.

    I wanted for this to take a more philosophical view on warfare on this story, especially since the main character is an intelligence agent who has lived with and even befriended his enemy for around a year.

    In my first thoughts, I was going to get into more of the crew, but I quickly realized that it would drag heavily under all of that "weight", so I cut it down to just two. I also wanted their reasons for joining the Rebellion to differ and then compare them to why Daam believes why the Empire was needed, even if it was the Empire doing all of those things.

    Thank you. I wanted to mainly write this entirely through thoughts and feelings rather than dialogue, especially since I really wanted to get into this OCs head and see why he is who he is later on.

    As always, thanks for reading and I hope that it fit the idea of your challenge.
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Interesting and thought-provoking take on the theme of "walking in someone else's shoes." And it makes perfect sense that the person doing so is a spy, because though I hadn't thought about it that way before, walking in other people's shoes exactly what spies do as their bread and butter, isn't it? :cool:

    Like too what you did with the mention of the Carida academy. It sets things up to make our protagonist look like he's an example of a garden-variety defector. But he turns out to be anything but. Clever twist there.

    And there's another level here to that theme—now that he's served alongside these rebels and gotten to know them as friends, Leco's now able to place himself in their shoes in certain ways (but only in certain ways). He now knows them well enough that he's sure they'd be the types to go down fighting against all odds. But he still firmly believes that they won't be remembered and won't deserve to be, all because they didn't "see the reason that was the Empire."

    Congratulations on your fine work! =D=
    Kahara, whiskers and Ewok Poet like this.
  10. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    I've been writing an older Leco for another, still unfinished work, when the challenge was posted, so I decided that A: this could work as an origin story if you will, and B: it would still be a decent work in its own right. That's why I decided to go with spy work. I also took a little bit of inspiration from a Legacy-era villain that I wrote a long time ago and made it so that he had been infiltrating the crew of a rebel ship for some time, but hadn't been able to find their benefactor's name.

    I got the idea for putting him in the Carida Academy while reading the Wizards of the Coast Planet Hoppers article. In it, Shira Brie/Lumiya was training there for a while. As she was an intelligence agent, the thought got put into my mind that all Imperial intel agents spend at least some time at one of the many Imperial military academies to at least pick up some basic command skills.

    He now knows how some Rebels think, and that could make him dangerous in the future. On the other hand, however, he now knows that they're not the boogeyman terrorists that many Imperial citizens believe. He certainly knew that it wouldn't be in his crew's character to surrender. And yes, I chose that particular wording very carefully...
    Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  11. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    This was an excellent twist -- I like how it starts out with the plausible idea that Jentin is just a garden-variety Imperial defector and the truth is revealed as we go along.

    I can just imagine this being the kind of thing crewmates would do to each other for giggles on a Rebel ship. Got to have some hobbies. [face_laugh] And this little moment becomes retroactively heartbreaking by the end. Because, as we see later, Jentin really does feel a certain kinship with these people he has lived and worked with. It's just not enough.

    As well as beginning the big reveal, this is a really interesting insight. Everyone has their own personal reasons, but an underlying sense that the galaxy is an unsafe place for regular people and that's not right must be a common thing among Rebels -- and one of the motives that even a loyal Imperial might come to understand.
    Leco just thinks they are sadly misguided in how they're directing that impulse. It's a common theme in stories that the villain has good/well-meaning intentions but their methods are horrible, and I love how that turns to both sides in this story. Leco thinks he's the one who is right (of course) and it's just a shame that he'd never convince them otherwise, whereas most of us reading are going "no, no, don't do this -- can't you tell that's evil?" But from his perspective, this is him choosing to hold to his principles. It's such an interestingly twisty story that way! :D His moment of almost-doubt and going ahead anyway was very well-written.

    I like how you can read this as him really being glad to get away and not be around those stinky Rebels any more, back where things are simple. Or, perhaps, that he's trying a little too hard to convince himself. Makes me wonder if he'll really be able to reintegrate into the Empire as well as he thinks. [face_thinking] As the summary suggests, this experience has probably changed him even if it doesn't change his loyalties.

    Well done! =D=
    whiskers, Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  12. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005

    I wanted Leco to be different than some of my other characters, especially since he shows up later as a main villain in something I'm working on. I also wanted to ease the reader into the revelation that he's doing something very, very wrong on the ship, even though the pieces are there from the start. I added the practical joker rebel as both a "slice of life" moment as well as to push home that the crew fully accepted him as one of their own during his time there.

    I think I may have said this before, but the a quality of a well-written villain is that they believe that their actions are completely justified, and that's what I mean to do with Leco. Yes, he has his doubts about how he's doing this actions, but can justify them as "well, they had every chance to surrender, even though I knew they likely wouldn't" and "They're searching for order in the galaxy the wrong way."

    He is trying very hard to convince himself that he has done the right thing, and succeeded at it. The actions he takes today will certainly color every single action that he takes from now on. T

    Thanks for reading and reviewing, Kahara, I appreciate it.
    Kahara, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  13. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Great story. I also like Imperials sticking to their guns, but you went the extra mile and rationalised the Empire's post-Clone Wars behaviour.

    Spooky, the parallels to Thumpers' effort.

    Well done.
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  14. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Seriously, I was really impressed at how well this story and Thumper's compliment each other; they're vastly different takes that nevertheless feel like they belong to a set. Different sides of the coin. You two could start a Rebellion anthology or something! :)
    whiskers and Findswoman like this.
  15. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    I didn't mean for there to be parallels, but I do love when seemingly unrelated stories tie in together.

    I wanted Leco to be aware of what the Empire was doing, but not be completely naive about it. He's not a good person, but there's always a justification for it or some way to explain it away with varying degrees of plausibility.

    I'm not entirely against the idea, but there is a lot in my notebook right now.
    Ewok Poet, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  16. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    To be fair, three of us went with troopers, for different reasons. Nothing bad about that!
    whiskers likes this.