Beyond - Legends Professional Pride (Mara Jade, vague hints of L/M)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Annia Piet, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 7, 2015
    Title: Professional Pride
    Timeframe: Immediately after the end of The Last Command
    Characters: Mara Jade, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker
    Genre: Drama, Introspection
    Summary: Mara is shocked to discover who the original owner of her new lightsaber was. After mulling it over, she decides to go on an impromptu late night mission
    Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Disney.
    A/N: This was put in my mind by the song ‘Blinded’ by Florence + the Machine, which for some reason makes me think of the state of mind Mara must have been in after realising how badly the Emperor used her. It also comes from realising that (as far as I can tell) there’s nothing in the Thrawn Trilogy to suggest Mara knows the full history of the lightsaber Luke gives her.

    Professional Pride

    The negotiations dragged on long into the night, and when they finally ended, Mara couldn’t get out of the meeting room fast enough. Luke had made his escape hours before, it being considered inappropriate for a Jedi to be involved in the detailed aspects of negotiating a deal with a bunch of smugglers. After all, when it came down to it, they were a bunch of criminals and he was supposed to be an upholder of peace and justice in the Galaxy. She was still annoyed he’d escaped so easily though, especially as she was pretty sure he’d planted the idea of her being the Smugglers Alliance liaison in the first place. He should have to suffer through it too, for that.

    Instead she and Karrde had been left with only Han Solo as a sympathetic voice in the meeting. The hazy legalities of this kind of arrangement with a legitimate government made it all very complicated, and the New Republic officials seemed determined to explore every possible implication of that before coming to an agreement. Longer, more annoying meetings promised to stretch into the days and weeks ahead. The darkness of the corridor outside the room was a relief.

    “Hey kid, you did good in there.” Han Solo’s hand briefly patted her on the shoulder. Mara tensed slightly at the unaccustomed familiarity, but she shot him a wry smile as the man fell into step with her.

    “What, because I restrained myself from drawing a gun just to get them to hurry up?”

    Han chuckled. “You didn’t draw a lightsaber on them either.” His eyes dropped to the new acquisition at her hip. “That’s real restraint. Although at times I rather hoped you would.”

    Thanks Solo. I’m not quite the temperamental vornskr some people seem to think I am you know. I know how to keep my head during long negotiations.”

    “Not sayin’ you are. Just I’ve had to sit through a lot of those kind of meetings in the last few years, and so far Luke’s really let me down on my fantasies of the pen pushers being silenced with a good swipe of a humming blade…”

    Mara laughed shortly at that. “Yeah, Skywalker’s way too restrained to ever pull something like that.”
    Han sot her a funny look. “I dunno. He can be pretty unexpected at times. Like that little gift he’s handed you.” He gestured to the saber again, and Mara realised she wasn’t going to avoid his curiosity about it. She pulled it from her belt and hefted it for him to see.

    “I guess since he has another one, he doesn’t need this one anymore. It was a thoughtful gesture though.”

    “A thoughtful gesture?” Han cocked his head at her. “Don’t you know whose saber that was?”

    “What? It was Luke’s, he lost it at Cloud City…”

    “Yeah, but where did he get a lightsaber from, do you think?”

    She frowned at the odd expression on his face and shrugged. “I don’t know. His Jedi Master, I guess.”

    “Yeah, Ben passed it on to him. But originally… It was his father’s, Mara.”

    Mara stared down at the sabre handle in her hand in shock, the rest of the world shifting away as she focused on the metal of the weapon. Luke’s father… Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader.

    Confusion roiled inside her. She hadn’t realised. She’d had no idea of its significance to the past. Luke’s past… and her past. Why would he give this to me? She had thought it a simple gift of peace and friendship, and an unsubtle hint he would like her to train with him. But now… what did it mean?

    “So you see, it’s a pretty surprising gift,” Han’s voice broke into her thoughts. “The kid’s full of surprises.” He cocked a wry grin at her. “Anyway, this is my turn off. Gotta get back to the wife and family.” His smile seemed somewhat self-satisfied at the thought, and he turned off down the corridor towards the wing the Solo’s lived in, leaving Mara alone with her thoughts in the darkened corridor.

    Mara dragged her eyes from his receding back and glanced down at the saber again. Full of surprises. Hm. She reattached it to her belt and looked around.

    The wide corridors of this part of the palace were quiet at this time of night, and the light very low. It drew her back into the past. In day light, with the bustling crowds of officials, politicians and delegations, the place truly belonged to the New Republic now. There was a sense of hope and purpose about these people in this place, something quite different from her memories of Palpatine’s regime. Then sycophants and acolytes had skulked around, whispering in corners. Moffs and Admirals had jostled for favour and power. The New Republic and all their ideals, as flawed as they often were, imbued the place with a whole different sense by daylight. But now those people were all in their beds sleeping and dreaming of their brave new galaxy, and the shadows of the past seemed to seep back in at the corners of her eyes and senses.

    Mara shook her head. She was imagining it, they were mere memories. The past couldn’t hurt her anymore. Even so, she felt the desperate need for air, the vast halls somehow becoming suffocating in the shadows of memory. Instead of heading towards her guest quarters, she turned on her heel back to the turbolifts, and up towards the roofs.

    She stepped out onto a different roof than the one she had shared with Skywalker at sunset, but they might as well have been the same. Just one of many, perfect places for someone to watch from, someone to have a clandestine meeting at, someone to lure a target to for a kill… She shook the memory away, shocked by the unexpected twinge of guilt. She couldn’t face that just yet. These memories kept coming back to her, randomly triggered by the littlest of things. The people she had hurt and killed, at his order. Every one she had thought was right and just, at the time. Done in service to her Master, the legitimate ruler of the Galaxy. Who had raised her. Who she had loved and served without question.

    And now, each time one of these memories surfaced, she would find herself, if she did not guard herself against it, going through what details she could remember of each instance. Trying to work out if that particular one had been right, deserved, or whether it had just been murder.

    She stepped to the stone railings and looked out at the darkness of the city, punctuated with a multitude of lights in buildings as big as mountains. An endless galaxy of people, all of whom had been objects to Palpatine, to be disposed of on a whim. Her eyes had been opened now, opened by a farmboy, and she couldn’t see, or feel, anything but that multitude of lives. She had been so wilfully blind. But for some reason Luke forgave her for it all, with out even asking the details of her sins.

    Absent mindedly, she lifted the saber from her belt and turned it over in her hands, thinking of the man who had once held it, and all the evils he had done. Luke insisted Vader had come back to the light at the end. He was so able to forgive his father all his wrongs, but the rest of the Galaxy did not see it that way. If they knew the details of her crimes, in the name of that… that tyrant, the Galaxy would not forgive her either, no matter what Skywalker thought.

    She lay the metal tube on the balustrade, wondering if she should just push it off, let it fall into the night. Loose the sabre, sever that connection to the past. But given the history of the damned thing, it would probably find it’s way back anyway.

    Skywalker was so damned certain about her. He was so sure that with her completion of the Emperor’s last command, she was freed and all that was put behind her. Such faith in such a simple act. But she was a killer, brought up and trained to be. How could he know she could really leave that all behind? She couldn't even face up to the truth of it herself yet, couldn’t face the memories. And all those nights spent dreaming of him, dreaming of his painful death. She closed her eyes against the memory of it, somewhere in her core clenching in a strange agony at the thought. All those many, many plans of how she would do it, when she finally caught up with the Jedi. She had planned to make her way towards Coruscant, get on planet, then use her knowledge of the Imperial Palace to get to him and claim him in the night.

    Only instead, she’d used that knowledge to save his sister and her children. It was funny how things turned out. And of course now, here and now, she was finally in the perfect position of trust, the perfect place, to actually pull the plan off. How ironic.

    Staring into the night, Mara’s eyelids narrowed thoughtfully. Was she still the killer she’d once been? Did she even still have those skills? Was leaving that life behind truly a choice? Could she have pulled off this last mission?

    She felt a swelling of professional pride, grasped the lightsaber hilt determinedly, and stalked off to the lift doors.

    It had not, thus far, been difficult at all. The trust that had been placed in her took her a long way into the part of the Palace where the Solo’s and Skywalker lived. The security clearance she’d been allowed was clearly reasonably high, for a guest. However after she got past the corridors that held meeting spaces and eateries, and into the more residential areas, she found herself challenged by the palace guards. She quickly sweet-talked her way out of it, but more stealthy means were clearly needed from this point on. She slunk into the shadows, distant training in how to sneak around this place returning with no effort. She knew these corridors, the walls and alcoves, statues and drapes, like the insides of her blaster. Sharp eyes and observation kicked in to note where the sentries stood, where they looked, when they would move on. Before they could turn back, she had slipped onwards, further into the residential areas.

    She needed to go up, but the noise of the turbolifts would attract too much attention and palace guards loitered near the ornate stairway up. The turbolift shaft was framed within four large, ornate columns, nearly as wide as a man each. To reach the one she needed, she would need to slip past one of the guards that felt a little more observant. Recalling Skywalker’s recent lessons, she drew on the Force to create a small noise the other end of the corridor. The sentry dutifully wandered over to investigate. She slipped past.

    Her fingers swiftly ran over the ornate decorations on the column to find the right spot, and a small opening appeared with a light sigh of escaping air. She slipped inside and drew the hatch quickly shut behind her, then reached out in the darkness for handholds she knew were there. Swiftly she pulled herself up, and in no time let herself out the hollow column two floors up.

    There were less palace guards on this floor. As she’d noted beforehand, primarily out of habit, the guards mainly aimed to keep people out of the residential higher floors rather than constantly roaming around outside people’s homes. It took no time to slip along the corridor to her destination.

    She had only been to his apartment once, when an impromptu meeting with Karrde and the Solo’s had taken place there the previous day to work through strategies for pitching the Smugglers Alliance idea to the New Republic hierarchy. She’d idly watched his finger swiftly stabbing in his door code, not intentionally taking it in. Now she focused through the Force again, remembering the simple trick she’d been taught to recall such details from her memory. She was still good at it; it was how she’d been able to reconstruct the route to Wayland. She sifted through the memory, slowing it down in her minds eyes, then let her fingers follow the pattern that his had moved in… and the door slid softly open.

    Mara stepped silently into Skywalker’s apartment.

    The darkened lounge seemed very peaceful, but Mara swore to herself and dropped to the floor as she noticed a faint blinking light behind the kitchen counter. She crawled over and pulled herself up to peer over it. Skywalker’s R2 unit. What in the stars did he have his droid in his apartment for? Surely it belonged in a hanger with his X-Wing. Still, he did seem inordinately fond of the thing. Thank the Force, it seemed to be powered down at the moment and hadn’t detected her entrance. She straightened up, and looked round for the bedroom door.

    The sliding open of doors always made Mara hold her breath. You never knew how loud it might be, and how light a sleeper might be inside. She sidestepped inside, straight into the shadows, so she would not be silhouetted in the doorway should he awake. Mara’s heart beat heavily in her chest, suddenly wondering just how much damage a suddenly wakened Jedi Knight could do. She sidled round the room, keeping to the walls, until she was near the side of his bed, then stepped forward into a crouch right beside it, hand on the saber he had given her just hours before hand.

    She found herself staring at his sleeping face. He slept rolled on his side, cheek cupped in one hand. His posture brought a memory of Mykr abruptly to mind, the infuriating way he could just fall asleep anywhere, even with a woman sworn to kill him glaring at him. It was the same position. So strangely childlike. His face was peaceful, she was so close she could hear his soft even breath going in and out. The planes of his face were softened by sleep and the low nightsky light coming from the window. He reminded her of the ‘wanted’ images she had first seen of him in files shortly after the destruction of the first Deathstar.
    She looked down at the lightsaber, his father’s lightsaber. Had his father only used this for good, or had it been part of his fall? It would be so easy to use it now, to fulfil her master’s last command, to take vengeance on this man’s long dead father. Tonight she had found that in truth she still was that woman. She could still worm her way into trust, slip through the place in darkness, use her knowledge to get places others couldn’t, use the Force to fulfil her master’s wishes.

    The boyish face in front of her shifted, and his eyes flickered slightly open. In some hazy half-dreaming state he smiled at her and muttered “Mara. Come back to bed.” Then he rolled over so she could no longer see his face, and started softly snoring.

    The shock of it made her nearly drop the saber. The saber she had brought back here to return to him. To show him in no uncertain terms that she didn’t want this gift, this reminder of their dark pasts. She wasn’t ready to face up to that past, let alone carry around a permanent reminder of it with her. To show him how easily she could kill him if she wanted, that he shouldn’t be so easy to trust her.

    But now she looked at him, and looked at it, and thought of that soft smile, and couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t wake up to a sabre beside him on his pillow tomorrow. She would get up and walk away. Accept his trust. Accept his gift, whatever the hell it meant.

    It was only as Mara scaled her way back down the inside of the hollow column that she turned her thoughts to exactly what he’d said in his sleep, and nearly slipped and lost her handhold at the realisation. Well, well, she thought in confusion. He really is full of surprises.
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Annia Piet - this is a superb TTT epilogue/sequel of sorts. =D= Great characterization and SQUEE! over the "Mara come back to bed." :) :)


    Those thoughts really feel like ones Mara would be having so soon after everything. [face_thinking]
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  3. aleja2

    aleja2 Jedi Master star 2

    Aug 4, 2005
    I always thought Mara would be enormously conflicted at the end of The Last Command. She may no longer have the Emperor's voice in her head, but the goal that drove her forward for over five years was...gone. And even though intellectually she would recognize that as a Good Thing and also be thankful she got rid of the voice without causing irreparable collateral damage to herself or others, it would still be unsettling and leave her with so many questions about who she is, what she wants to be and how will she shape the future. Loved this look at her, especially in conjunction with learning whose lightsaber she now carried. Thanks so much for sharing!
  4. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Sorry taramidala but I gotta borrow this -



    *breathes and hands phrase back*


    Wonderful glimpse into the complexity of Mara's thoughts post-TLC and the tension between humorous and haunting (sorry, that's still not actually coherent or grammatically correct but better than nothing, LOL). This is funny and beautiful and chilling all at once, and I would have loved to see this scenario done as a sort of Dark Horse's Star Wars Tales comic with the minimal dialogue and chiaroscuro artwork.

    That last bit, tho - prophetic, HAHA. Nice one, Farmboy. [face_mischief][face_laugh] (Oh man, imagine if this became a running joke with them after they're married, BWAH.)

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  5. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I really enjoyed this. I guess I never thought about Mara not realizing whose saber it had been. I liked the fact that she found out from Han. I like to see interaction between Han and Mara. Loved seeing her get past all of the guards and I Squeed when Luke rolled over in his sleep and said, Mara, come back to bed. And then having her almost lose her grip in the shaft when she thought about what he had said.

    I would love to see your interpretation of a discussion between Mara and Luke over the saber. If you decide to continue, Please tag me in.:)@};-
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  6. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 7, 2015
    Aw shucks, thanks folks, glad you liked it! :)

    ThreadSketch - OMG, pterodactyl screech! I love that image/phrase so much, I'm gonna use it for everything now!!

    Gemma The idea of the saber's history causing issues for their friendship intrigues me, but I might explore it in a different scenario. I've always wanted to write something exploring what the heck happens between TTT and JAC to change their friendship so much, and this might be my hook. Hmmmm... In the meantime, I've done a bit of a silly epilogue to this to explain why the Noghri didn't stop her getting in (I don't thing her skills are THAT good that they wouldn't have noticed her), which I'll add on here when I've had a chance to edit :)
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  7. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 7, 2015
    Here's the silly little epilogue, rather inspired by Hazel 's Artoo's Frazzled Circuit's series;


    Artoo rolled to the terminal that the Noghri Cakhmaim sat at filling out security reports for the night before. The Noghri shot Artoo what he assumed was a sour look as he extended his data jack and plugged into the terminal so that he could converse with the alien. Cakhmaim had not been at all keen on the idea of coordinating with Artoo on the security of his master, but Artoo, ever vigilant, had insisted and, after some intervention from Master Luke, got his own way. Now he received a copy of their reports daily, although generally the short aliens still avoided talking to him directly about it.

    Artoo ran through the report document Cakhmaim was compiling. As expected, an entirely quiet night with no concerns, and only one visitor…
    Wait. What? What visitor?

    Mara Jade had entered the apartment at 1.45am.


    To his chagrin, Artoo realised it coincided with the twenty minutes he had powered down for a systems update, assuming the Noghri could handle matters for such a short time.

    > MARA JADE ENTERED THE APARTMENT AT 1.45 AM? He asked Cakhmaim through the terminal messaging suite.

    The Noghri looked down at him and growled “Yes,” shortly.


    “No,” came the short reply.


    The Noghri frowned down at him. “She used the key pad.”


    The Noghri’s eyes flicked down from the screen to the little droid. “No, he was asleep for the entire time.”

    Artoo’s dome spun around in agitation, accompanied by a range of outraged squeals.


    To Artoo’s surprise, Cakhmaim shrugged. He did not seem to be treating the incident with the severity it deserved. “She very effectively circumvented the palace guards then used one of the Emperor’s secret passages to get up to this floor. Her skills at subterfuge are reasonably impressive, for a human.”


    Another casual shrug. “We were watching her the whole time. We did not think Son of Vader would want us to stop her.”


    For the first time, Cakhmaim seemed to take in that there may be a problem in this. “We would not wish to interfere with mating rituals.”


    “Demonstrating our skills at subterfuge and hunting is an important part of winning the respect of a mate. Amongst the Noghri, it is traditional, at a particular stage of a courtship, for one to infiltrate their prospective mate’s home as they sleep and leave a gift for them without waking them. We assumed this was the same for humans.”


    “From our observations of their interaction together, the way they work well together, their willingness to make sacrifices for each other, and finally Son of Vader’s personal gift to her yesterday, this seemed an obvious next step.” Cakhmaim crooked his head at the droid. “Was our evaluation incorrect?”

    Artoo processed these points for a few moments. They were good ones, and the scenario seemed likely. Except for the part where she broke in without permission!


    Cakhmaim nodded. “Very well. I apologise sincerely for this misunderstanding. Should we inform Son of Vader of this transgression?”

    Artoo twisted his dome from side to side, processing the matter. On the one hand, it was inappropriate and strange behavior. On the other hand, there did seem to be some potential between Master Luke and Mara Jade. Revealing this might ruin that. And she hadn’t actually done anything whilst here, as far as he could see from the report. Just went in his bedroom, looked at him for a minute, then left.


    Cakhmaim nodded, some version of relief crossing his strange face.
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  8. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005
    Loved the introspection on Mara learning the origin's of her lightsaber - and of course she'd sneak into his apartment! Loved Luke's sleep mutterings (I wonder if he'd remember in the morning?).

    [face_laugh] The Noghri know what's what.
  9. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 7, 2015
    I'm thinking Luke was having some *very* nice dreams, unaware she was sitting right there weighing up whether to kill him anyway, just for old times sake!

    Of course part of me wanted to go off on a tangent where just just responded 'Oh, OK then' and jumped in with him, but that would have turned it into a very different kind of story! ;)
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh that was a neat and unique bit of reasoning there as to who knew and let her in anyway and why. ;) Would love it if they ever did discuss any of this in the future. :) [face_sigh] Up to and including Luke's involuntary, dreaming, and very understandable request. ;)
    Gemma likes this.
  11. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    *SPEW* HAHAHAHA. [face_laugh] Oh man, that was perfect.

    Does this mean Mara's an honorary Noghri? :p
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  12. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I absolutely adored this explanation --- and then R2 deciding not to tell Luke as he saw a potential for Luke and Mara --- way to go R2!:)
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  13. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Cool! I like these stories where Mara is still conflicted in her feelings. But really, she knows deep down. And Luke's words to her in his half-sleep are perfect. He's accepted her in his heart so deeply that he has emotionally moved into their future. Slippy slidey timey wimey...

    And that epilogue is hysterical.

    I love how even R2 knows what "creepy" is!
  14. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 7, 2015
    Well, after hanging around with Anakin/Padme, he ought to!

    (With apologies to A/P fans, I couldn't help myself...)
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  15. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I really hope you continue you this.:)
  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Tol Fanfic Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Like how you explore the meaning of Luke's lightsaber gift to Mara, especially given the history behind it—really does make it mean something very different from what she probably thought. Enjoyed too Mara's ruminations on her past life as Hand, which of course will take years to come terms with.

    Some very poignant and riveting moments here: when she toys with the idea of dropping it from the ramparts—and then decides not to. When she thinks for just a moment about killing him in his sleep—then hears what he says in his sleep, and decides to keep his gift, for better or for worse. Nice job with these.

    And LOVE the epilogue—absolutely hilarious! [face_laugh] Artoo's and Cakhmaim's conversation is just priceless (and it's fun to see both the pluck astromech and an everyday, ordinary bodyguard getting some fanfic screen time). The bit about the Noghri mating ritual, and Artoo's response thereto, had me especially in stitches. Well done, there. :D
  17. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 3, 2003
    Aww, Artoo ships L/M! :D

    I love both parts of this - Mara's confusion and acceptance of Luke's gift, Luke's sleepy comment, and then the humor of the epilogue. Nice work! =D=
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  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Hi Annia Piet, I believe we haven't met yet. I'm Chyntuck :)

    I absolutely adored this story -- how Mara sneaks into Luke's room, her questions, her doubts, her self-doubt and the way she processes her thoughts and emotions... It was all very well handled.

    And the epilogue had me laughing out loud! It's too bad April Fool's Day went by, because I would have asked you to write a comparative study of Noghri and Human courtship and mating rituals for the Fanon Thread [face_laugh]

    Incidentally, I found it very pleasant to be reading Nyota's Heart prize-gift for divapilot, which referred me to this one -- and then when I read this I find a reference to Hazel. Pure fanfic awesomeness!
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  19. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Each object can tell thousands of stories and they largely depend on the numerous connections an individual/multiple individuals may have with it. And this object has surely seen more than most others could, perhaps even more than Yoda's lightsaber! I enjoyed reading how Mara meditates on these facts after Han Solo, out of all people, tells her about it. No matter how much trust Luke has in her at this stage, at some point, it looked like she doubted her own trust in herself. Luckily, that didn't last long.

    The epilogue was funny, too; but I think you now need to remove "vague hints" from the title as the aftermath made them into fireworks. XD
    Annia Piet likes this.
  20. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Great posts. Hmmm...maybe you should write about Luke's dream. It sounded like a good one. lol!