Title: Respawn Author: Ewok Poet Genre: Drama Characters: Geonosian OCs, brief mentions of CCs Timeframe: Sometween between the OT and the ST Rating: PG (reference to mating at the end) Length: One-shot Summary: A/N: This is one of my responses to the Representing the Underrepresented Mod!Challenge. People say that we should write what we know, which is the approach I utilised for both of my mod!challenge stories. This story deals with both misdiagnoses of mental illnesses, as well as something that might be a bit harder to grasp - collective guilt. I've experienced the latter due to where I live and the wars that followed disintegration of Yugoslavia. People used to bully me on the internet, a lot. Even to this day, I encounter wacky folks who say offensive things! And of course, most of us were just thrown into the vortex - how can you stop politicians and their actions? You cannot, until the time is right...or until you've all been swept away. ... There is always somebody who suffers. There is always the other side of the story. They named him Nkls. Nkls’ adoptive parents were considerate beings, yet from a proud warrior race that was civilised with time, but they never forgot their origins. They didn’t want young Nkls to forget his, either. Trauta and Diren’bert told him everything they knew, every single thing that they could come across and dig out about his now-extinct species, what they could tell him during the times they were still hailed by the notorious Confederation, an organisation financed by oligarchs from the Corporate Sector and a couple of others. And then something happened. And nobody knew what it was. Still, the hate of Geonosians remained a common sentiment across the Galaxy and, after a while, the family moved from Coruscant to a barely-populated world of Saberhing. Trauta worked at the shipyards and Diren’bert stayed at home with Nkls. There were less of the hecklers present here, everybody was so focused on their jobs. On the former capital planet of the world as they all knew it, this was not the case. The monument where a brave Jedi Knight stands with his lightsaber held high and his foot on a dead “buggy’s” exoskeleton carcass had a prominent location near the former Jedi Temple, which used to make Nkls feel even worse about himself. He would stay at home all day, even on Saberhing, unsure of his place in the world. Sure, he could find a job on HoloNet, his name was not ringing any buzzers, but what if they wanted him on the Holocomm, for possible meetings. He was afraid of that, to the point of almost being paranoid. He was branded schizoid by the medics who tried to treat him, albeit with disgust. He was assessed as not needing anybody in his life. He was a selfish being that just wanted to be by himself. This made him feel bad. He would not sleep for nights and nights and there was this spasm in his mandibles. He purposely numbed himself with a strong tranquiliser. Why? Because he otherwise emitted a horrible, irritating sound that his caretakers could not put up with and that was the only way. Klik. Klak. Klik. Klak. Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! One day he ran away and he did not even want to know that this would have been branded as “dissociative fugue”. He moved to the Outer Rim world of Abrion Major. The beings he met there had no idea of who he was and they were good to him – the sector was isolated after an unspecified series of events on a nearby planet that was too dangerous to visit and many outcasts and burnouts flocked there. He still lived alone, but every now and then, he would join one of their harvest celebrations or walk through the steppe with the only friend he had. Sometimes he would attempt to fly, but he didn’t know how to, so he would always crash to the ground. … She named herself Talina. It sounded good to her. Having been rescued from a crater one of the moons where a handful of workers from her caste had escaped to and where she somehow survived before hypoxia would have taken ther life, she never knew how to speak her native language. Or, better said, she had forgotten it with time. She knew everything about her devastated planet and its shameful, yet unfortunate history. Poggle the Lesser and the other once-glorified oligarchs made the beings of Geonosis pay the price for something most of them have been brainwashed into. Was that what the alleged hive mind that she read about and never understood was for? In that case, everybody in the system, everybody on the planet surrounded by an asteroid field forming those ugly, ugly rings deserved to die a horrible death. They should have worked together, on the same frequency, to resist the evil that was about to consume them – but they didn’t. And whoever gave them what they had it coming for having created the Death Star must have been a being of honour, unlike the much-hated Emperor Palpatine, the notorious Darth Vader, the sociopath that was Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and the weapon constructor himself – Orson Krennic. Her peers at the Lyceum on Chandrilla understood it and knew that her shame was enough – they did not want to shame her further. Sometimes, she would talk about it with so much hate that she would get angry fits and crack her little mandibles, so grotesque in comparison to her obese and disproportional body, to the point where there was no more Galactic Basic coming out of her mouth – just kliks and klaks. Klik. Klak. Klik. Klak. Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! Klik-klak! At some point, the lect-aide droid nearly short-circuited from her klikking and klakking. And she was too large to be tamed without being stunned. The security droids sustained her and she was taken to the asylum. Her parents insisted on the top experts treating her. Days later, she was taken to Seegmon d’Fraud himself and diagnosed as histrionic. Her emotions were considered unreal and she had to accept the fact that everything was long buried in history. She only did this for attention. She was always doing it for nothing but attention. She wanted all eyes on her and it was crystal-clear, like the mysterious rings around Blabendreus, the planet that the Elespads supposedly came from. Who were they, anyway? Another mean species like hers? Oh, her species was so, so mean, man, mean, mean! At the point Talina’s kliks and klaks would cause the other inmates to become violent, Seegmon d’Fraud suggested their parents to let go of her, disown her and send her to the obscure world of Abrion Major, the location of the second chance community for the wayward ones. He knew that there was no chance of rehabilitation, whatever the survival instinct in her created was a sign of pure evil. Once on Abrion Major, she was not making any progress and was soon relegated to a field of her own, where she spent days using ancient tools from long before the Hyperspace Era to mow the tall grass of the steppe. … Walking by the laser-protected fence Nkls felt something. Seconds later, a large creature that appeared to have been one of his people touched the fence and fell on their back, shocked. “Klik-klak?” he heard himself make a sound, much to his surprise. This had not happened ever since he came to Abrion Major. He was not sure why, but he could fly. His flight to the other side of the fence nearly cost him a limb, because he was worse than a zig-zagging New Republic pilot learning to escape the obstacles on the training course, but he somehow made it next to that being, the being that needed his help. The being soon came to. They were bigger than him and had no wings at all. But he was one-hundred-percent sure that they were a fellow Geonosian. “Klik-klak?!” Talina spoke. That was apparently her name in what resembled cleverly-obscured code language, or droid binary, and Nkls was surprised that he understood it. “Klik…klak” he heard himself attempting to respond. She nodded. He shrugged. And an awkward conversation began. But it was getting less awkward with time. Eventually, Nkls managed to bring his new friend to the other side of the fence, surprised that his wings did not fail him. And they continued their talk, in a language nobody on this planet would have been able to grasp, the one they didn’t know they were capable of speaking. (I have no real emotions, they said. But it’s not true.) (I don’t like anybody, they said. But it’s not true.) The klikking and klakking continued until sunset. They were both tired, Nkls and Talina. It was no wonder that, at some point, the klikking and klakking echoed in their olfactory organs. But they were yet to become aware that it was more than that. Maybe next morning? Yes, next morning, when they woke up next to each other, unsure of what happened. The voice was there and it was loud and clear, for the first time. And the voice spoke to the two of them. Respawn, my people. Respawn. This is your collective voice speaking. We call it hive mind. It is not the Force. But the Force certainly brought us together again. We only have to find one another. One of you is a drone. The other is a queen. There is hope. Your survival instinct just created a handful of new Geonosians. And you know it. Someday, you will be telling your side of the story. The one about millions of innocents whose foolish beliefs were exploited in order to create a weapon of mass destruction. The one that will be so hard to prove, but at the end of the day, what do you have to prove? You were young. And, despite the fact that you were robbed of your youth, there is still time to be young. Forever young. Respawn. Just respawn.