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Beyond - Legends Before - Legends Saga - Legends Rumours and Speculations [The Kessel Run Challenge 2023]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by UltramassiveUbersue, Jan 10, 2023.

  1. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    I'm very excited to take on my first Kessel Run Challenge!
    As with all my stuff, I appreciate constructive criticism. :)

    Title: Rumours and Speculations
    Timeframe: Legends Before, Saga, and Beyond
    Characters: Various OCs & ECs (Padmé Amidala, Lando Calrissian, Cilghal, Natasi Daala, Mara Jade, Qui-Gon Jinn, Talon Karrde, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Leia Organa, Sheev Palpatine, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo)
    Genre(s): Various (Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Introspection, Horror, Humour, Romance)
    Keywords: Challenge, OCs
    Summary: Miscellaneous vignettes and short stories
    Notes: Responses to the prompts of the 2023 Kessel Run Challenge

    Week #1: "Optics"
    Week #2: "This Is Fine"
    Week #3: "First Mission"
    Week #4: "A Disaster"
    Week #5: "An Echo in the Quiet Sea"
    Week #6: "Our Place"
    Week #7: "A Good Day"
    Week #8: "Paradise"
    Week #9: "The Poseur"
    Week #10: "An Off Day"
    Week #12 (Long Vignette): "Consequences"

    Week #1

    Title: Optics
    Timeframe: Beyond Legends, somewhat AU
    Characters: Natasi Daala, OCs, Leia, Tarkin
    Genre: Drama
    Keywords: Daala, OC, Leia, Tarkin
    Summary: Natasi Daala's publicist has to deal with the fallout professionally and personally when his boss continues to defend Wilhuff Tarkin's conduct and legacy.
    Notes: Week #1 of the Kessel Run Challenge 2023;
    Prompt: starts with "He had not been courageous."
    Photo prompt:
    Word Count: 981

    "He had not been courageous!"

    "You weren't there!"

    "Neither were you! Leia was-- don't you dare walk away from me, Natasi--"

    She has thrown up her hands and is exiting her office.

    "I swear to you, I will turn in my resignation--"

    She stops and grips the doorjamb, clenching her jaw so hard she feels like her teeth could break. She bows her head and paces her breathing.

    Her publicist crosses his arms and leans back against her desk, waiting.

    "You don't understand, Natasi," Leia had said-- Carim had to work for seventy-two hours straight to deal with the fallout from this exchange-- "he felt nothing."

    "You don't know that--"

    "Even Vader flinched. I know you loved him, but you didn't know him--"

    "I knew him better than anyone!"

    Neither had noticed that the farthest bathroom stall was occupied, and the journalist published their conversation verbatim. That was two months ago.

    Now Carim is missing another holiday because Daala let someone goad her into defending Tarkin at the Solstice dinner. As he waits for her to calm, he looks out the window at the snow and dead leaves. He should be on the bullet train, watching the season shift as he approaches the equator and crosses hemispheres. He should be meeting his family at the beach.

    His eyes sting. He wants to ask if she cares about him at all. And he always forgives her, because he understands her; he knows what it is like to be in love with someone that everyone tells you is a monster.

    She sighs and wipes her face with her sleeve.

    Carim wishes this were his cue to hug her. Instead, he walks to the minibar and pours them each a stiff drink.

    "I'm sorry." She accepts the drink and they sit on the couch.

    His heart lifts; he stares down at his glass rather than let her see. He has previously embarrassed himself by looking at her wrong after too many drinks, causing her to say, excrutiatingly, "I'm too old for you."

    "Hey," she says, trying to catch his eye. "Cheers." He looks up at her apologetic smile and they clink glasses; his resentment evaporates. "You'll invoice me for the overtime, right?"

    He shrugs.

    "Fine, it'll be a holiday bonus." They sip their drinks in silence. "You must think I'm really stupid."

    "Of course not." He cannot tell if she is manipulating him; he wishes he could decide she is so that he can do his job in peace. But he feels too much, just like her.

    "How can I make this up to you?"

    Have dinner with me. "Ask me when it's out of the news cycle."

    She nods, chastened. "Is there anything I can do? Aside from keep my mouth shut."

    He shakes his head.

    "When's Jasi's due date?"

    "I've got to get back to work, Nat," he says, downing the rest of his glass and getting up. She is surprised and hurt that he will not participate in repairing this rupture between them, but he does not want to hear her ask about his family. He fixes himself a caf as he listens to her footsteps recede.

    The last time Carim went home-- his real home, not his apartment in the capital district-- his sister had just announced her pregnancy, and they got into a big argument over dinner.

    "If she wants people to stop thinking 'warlord', she should lose the campy eyepatch."

    "Jasi, she has no eye."

    "Hello? Implants exist."

    "She was face-down in the mud for seven hours with an orbital floor fracture and ruptured cornea--"

    Their parents shared a glance, and Jasi's husband looked at his plate awkwardly.

    "My point is the shrapnel destroyed her eye and the muscles surrounding it necrotized. There is nothing to attach an implant to. They had to sew her eyelids shut."

    Their father interjected, "Some of us are trying to eat."

    Jasi countered, "My point is she's a bad person and not worth defending on your day off!"

    After dinner, Carim made a rapid escape to his room, citing deadlines. He heard a knock at the door as his mother let herself in; he sighed as he turned his chair to face her as she sat on the edge of his bed.

    "Your father and I--"

    "I don't want to hear it."

    She looked hurt, but continued. "We're worried about you. You spend too much time working."

    He scoffed. "She's the Chancellor. I told you it would be like this when I took the job."

    "It's not the job that is the problem--"

    "Then what?"

    "Must I say it?"

    "No, you can mind your business."

    "Jasi is right; this isn't healthy."

    "You knew what her politics were when I took the job! And you were proud of me, too!"

    "I know, but you are too close to this woman."

    "It's an election year and I'm her publicist."

    "Must I say it?"

    "I don't know, must you?"

    "I don't want to."

    "Then don't."

    They have always been a close family, and his failure to reconcile before leaving festers his soul. His concentration is shot.

    What will he say? He cannot say the truth, that Natasi will not accept that the person she loved for so long and felt she owed her life to could destroy Alderaan without being under duress.

    He hears her footsteps again and watches her enter, looking down at her datapad, troubled.

    "What is it?" He is immediately beside her; she looks up at him, haunted. They sit down and she leans into him like a frightened child. He reads the newswire.

    A newly discovered mass poisoning of civilians that wiped out an entire city...

    "You don't think he did this--"

    She swipes to the next article. New information from the Tarkin family's estate. Hours before his death, Wilhuff sent his brother a message, "Forgive me."

    She bursts into tears.

    Thanks for reading! :)
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2023
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    More of this. Tarkin, Daala and Leia in the mix. Working for 72 hours? Horrible
  3. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 12, 2018
    Oh those Tarkin boys and the people who defend them. [face_shame_on_you]

    Good story, great start on the challenge. :)
  4. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    Yeesh, trying to defend Tarkin is never easy, but especially for the love of his life, and as slimy as Daala is, she has every right to defend him. Even if he was a creep and war criminal.
  5. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Carim's the kind of stubborn where he will keep on working long most people would rage-quit. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    Thanks! :) Daala's definitely being her own worst enemy here.

    She's free to express her opinion, but then her publicist has to convince her voters that she is neither evil nor delusional... Thanks for reading! :D

    Week #2

    Title: This is Fine
    Timeframe: Saga Legends (ROTJ)
    Characters: Mara Jade
    Genre: Humour Adventure?
    Keywords: Mara Jade
    Summary: Emperor's Hand and veritable potty mouth Mara Jade is desperate to complete her mission to kill Luke Skywalker, and things keep going wrong.
    Notes: Week #2 of the Kessel Run Challenge 2023. The prompts are:
    - Between 400 and 800 words
    - second-person POV
    - a character is lost.

    I'm not sure if that's I'm doing really counts as second-person perspective, but I'm calling it good enough! :D
    Word Count: 462

    "Well, shavit."

    Breathe... just breathe. This is fine. You have options. So the barge left without you... you could steal a speeder bike. It's not ideal, and you'll have to change your plan. You won't be able to just take his lightsaber and watch their rescue fall apart. You'll cause a scene by showing up, so you might as well just shoot the guy.

    No, don't steal a kriffing speeder, are you insane? You'll create a diversion for them to exploit and guarantee their escape. Besides, if he can Force-choke guards, he'll dodge your blaster fire.

    You either wait this out for the next opportunity... no, His Excellency isn't going to wait much longer. You can still catch them if you go out on foot and run like hell.

    Kriff, it's hot out... I hope you like heatstroke, Mara! No time to find a map. No time for water or proper shoes, no time to change out of this stupid dress. Keep running. Sure, keep running through the Dune Sea in the afternoon without any water. You're a kriffing genius, Mara.

    Well you can die out here or Papa will make you his next Hand's first kill. No, you can't fail him, not today. Just keep running; you've got this, you'll figure it out-- SHAVIT.

    Don't move. Stay absolutely still. You haven't triggered its peristalsis reflex yet. This sarlacc's just a baby, thank kriff.


    "Shavit shavit shavit-- aaaaaaaaah, kriff! Yes, yes, Your Excellency! He will die!"


    "Very soon, Your Excellency!"



    "Mother kriffer kriffing shavit! Fine, fine! This is fine! You little shavit!"

    Stop struggling. Breathe.


    "Let go of my foot."

    Hah. Please?

    "Look, I admire your ambition, but I'm clearly too much food for you."

    That's right, reason with a sarlacc. Great plan.

    "Tell you what, little guy, you can keep the shoe. No, no, not the hand! You want to lose a tentacle?"

    Oh Mara, you are so kriffed. What the hell were you thinking? You weren't thinking, you were panicking. And now you're going to die of exposure because you're stuck.

    Haha. This is fine. Hahahaha.

    Woah, what--

    Take that, you nasty little desert sphincter! No food for you!"

    That sounded like a fuel explosion-- ground vibrations make sarlaccs puke; good to know. Keep crawling, get to the top of this dune... there.

    Yep, look at how black that smoke is. That's a dead barge alright.

    "...And there goes the Falcon. Of course."

    Rest in peace, Jabba. The locals are going to have one hell of a party.

    Congratulations for not being dead, Mara. This foot on the other hand... oh, this is going to suck. Let's just hope the wind hasn't erased your tracks...

    "Well, shavit."

    Thanks for reading! :)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2023
  6. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    Well, she lost him then, but gets him back later. let’s hope she wasn’t that colorful around Ben when he was little.
  7. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 12, 2018
    I just doesn't sound like Mara's day, does it? [face_thinking] Of course, maybe the Force put that Sarlaac there, because it needed to slow her down so Luke could get rid of Palps. Then, let her catch up to him later so he can help her redeem herself? Sounds like a plan to me. :) Good response.
  8. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    [face_laugh] That's true... I guess she owes that Sarlaac a thank you.
    I'd like to think she spent the duration of her pregnancy training herself not to swear.:D
    Thanks for reading!
    The Force couldn't have planned it better, really. :D Thanks for reading and commenting!
    Vek Talis and Kahara like this.
  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    She lost Luke because of that kriffing sarlac. Fun with Mara
  10. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    An excellent double read!

    The grief wraps itself around her and it'll be like that for awhile. Nice characterization of difficult people and those who are in their orbit.

    Good luck with that one![face_alien]

    Ugh, the ultimate Zoom meeting with The Boss.
  11. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Well, at least she kept her foot. :p Thanks for reading!

    Thanks! :)
    Thanks you! If Daala has one thing going for her, she's ridiculously loyal. But I think a lot of her loyalty towards Tarkin comes from a need for purpose, and her glossing over his moral failings comes from being unwilling to accept that she made all these sacrifices for someone who wasn't worth it and didn't care about her that much. The fact that she waited in the Maw for him for ten years is insane, especially given that everyone under her command essentially had no life, either.
    Imagine working for the guy who raised you in his death cult and you can never avoid answering his calls. So intrusive! :p

    Thanks for reading, guys! :)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2023
  12. amidalachick

    amidalachick FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 3, 2003
    Two excellent responses! I especially liked Mara's potty mouth in Week 2. It's totally me on an average day understandable when she's having a day like that. :p[face_laugh]

    Great work and I can't wait to see what's next! :)
  13. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you very much! :)
    amidalachick and Kahara like this.
  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    The potty-mouthed Emperor's Hand had me laughing out loud! This was such a hilarious take on Why Mara Didn't Make It To The Sail Barge, especially the moment when Sheevy Sheev intervenes in her mind just as she's being caught by a baby sarlacc, of all things. I also loved the detail that ground tremors cause sarlaccs to vomit ( [face_rofl] ) and that, even in the middle of the mess and the cursing, Mara somehow has to reflex of filing that detail away for later.

    As to Optics, well, that was entirely different. The idea that Daala would have a publicist is amusing of course, even though it stands to reason that she would since she's the chancellor, but the amusement dissipated as soon as I got past the first lines. This was actually a pretty angsty story about two people who are "in love with someone that everyone tells you is a monster", as you put it so aptly in the course of the story, and how it impacts their lives. We see it most explicitly with Carim and his frayed relationship with his family, but also with Daala, who is too busy being in denial about Tarkin to comprehend that she has a wonderful person standing at her side.

    Great work, and I'll keep an eye out for your next offerings!
  15. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    I've had a soft spot for sarlaccs ever since I read about Boba Fett just chilling and making conversation while stuck in its stomach in Tales from Jabba's Palace. And I figured Luke's a frustrating target, and Mara isn't one to give up easily, so I just assumed she'd try to pursue the barge on foot and at least have a near-miss with a sarlacc while she's fighting heat exhaustion. And that she would be too embarrassed to admit this to Luke, of course. :D

    I appreciate your feedback very much. :)

    I would say that Carim is more infatuated with Daala than anything else, but he's a recent university grad who was too busy building his CV to actually date and learn to distinguish love from infatuation.

    She cares about him a great deal-- no one else gets to call her Nat, let alone see her cry. But since he has to know intimate details about her life in order to manage her image, there is an artificial sense of intimacy, and Carim isn't mature enough to know if it's a real connection or not.

    Daala knows firsthand the consequences of sleeping with your boss; her actual relationship with Tarkin lasted only a couple of years, but it defined her whole life in the public eye, despite everything she has done since then. It's really in Carim's interest for her to assert boundaries, but she's undercutting that professionalism by using him for emotional support.

    Thank you very much! :)
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
  16. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Week #3

    Title: First Mission
    Timeframe: Legends Saga
    Characters: Mara Jade, OCs
    Genre(s): Drama
    Keywords: Challenge, OC, Mara Jade
    Summary: The staff of a secondary school help a new student settle in, and something doesn't seem quite right.
    Notes: Week #3 of the Kessel Run Challenge 2023. The prompts are:
    - story between 500 and 1,000 words
    - in which you make up a new OC (original character).
    - new OC must interact with at least one EC (established character)
    - must include this dialogue: “Something was bound to go right sometime today.”

    *Antin Heuse (school principal) and Vir Raiye (phys ed teacher) are new OCs.
    *The EC is Mara Jade, using the alias "Amara Litch".
    Word Count: 995

    The girl wakes at 04:00. She grooms and dresses and leaves by 04:10.

    Her brisk pace will warm her in approximately twenty minutes-- ten if the wind stops. She must account for unfamiliar factors, having never trained planet side.

    Such planning includes assuming the need to detour around every ambiguous feature on the satellite map. She is halfway there before the stars disappear; pedestrian bridges traverse the highways and ravine, and she arrives at school almost an hour early.

    She circles the perimeter to keep warm. On her second lap, the front door opens, revealing a man speaking gibberish. He beckons; she enters a spacious atrium, strikingly vulnerable to an air attack.

    He speaks again, seemingly wanting her to sit. She complies; she must obey authorities and can assess the area later.

    "Wautsh'way kaulyeu?"

    He is thin, wearing a pressed shirt tucked into fitted trousers, and hikes up his pant legs slightly before squatting to meet her at eye level. He holds another chair for balance and rests on the balls of his feet. His core strength and hip flexibility are poor; he has not been trained.

    "I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand."

    Perplexed, he disappears behind a nearby desk, and returns. "Yeukauld Amaha?"

    "Amara Litch, sir."

    To his relief, the front door opens.

    Another man enters: shorter, but his shoulders sit square and his weight rests equally on both feet. He is stocky and muscular without imbalances or posture deficiencies. His knit shirt and loose pants accommodate a full range of movement; he surely has been trained. The men talk.

    He squats before her at eye level with a warm smile; this custom must be to avoid the appearance of asserting dominance.

    "Hi, Amara! I'm Mr. Raiye." He holds out his hand and chuckles when she squeezes it tightly. "Wow, you're strong! What sports do you play?"

    He is definitely her handler, but his code mystifies her. "I don't know, sir."

    He frowns briefly but smiles again. "Are you hungry?"

    She nods. He reminds her of Papa asking if she would like a story; both men do. Unsettled, she scans the area as Mr. Raiye leads her through the atrium.

    "You missed your ride this morning. Did you take transit?"

    "No, sir."

    "You walked from the hotel?"

    She hesitates. "I did, sir."

    This time his frown sticks: unaggressive, but troubled.

    "I'm sorry, sir. It won't happen again."

    This bothers him more. "You're not in trouble, Amara. And you don't have to call me sir, it's alright. You can relax."

    The open cafeteria has a wall of windows. Large, circular tables use the space inefficiently and would provide poor cover in a firefight.

    The food options confuse her; she just needs protein and carbohydrate. The worker looks to Mr. Raiye, holding a colourful ration packet.

    "No, she's getting a proper meal," he says, irritated, and directs the worker in their dialect to fill a plate and put it on a tray, which he carries to a table. The girl sits, and Mr. Raiye smiles and moves the tray in front of her. "It's yours."

    She unsure what she is eating, but it tastes good and feels nutritious. She packs in the calories until she considers the possibility of poison, and freezes. She runs through possible scenarios, pacing her breathing to maintain control and avoid vomiting.

    "Is this your first public school?" He looks sad.

    "Yes, Mr. Raiye," she says absently. The foodstuffs all came from large batches in heated servers, and neither man had opportunity to put anything else on her plate surreptitiously. She relaxes. "It's my first mission."

    "Really? What's your religion?"

    She glances at him self-consciously, called out for oversharing. "I don't want to talk about it."

    He looks over her shoulder. "Mr. Heuse!" It is the same man from before. Mr. Raiye smiles and excuses himself; the men converse at the room's far side.

    They speak quietly.

    "What's the story, Heu?"

    The principal shakes his head, perturbed. "No history, no medical records. But her hotel's paid for, and that's good enough for Central Services."

    "They have a family placement, then?"

    "Nope. She's fifteen, and apparently, a hotel's fine."

    "What a shavit-show!"

    "I just spoke to Central directly. No one messed up, they don't see a problem."

    "That's insane. She walked here. I don't think she even knew about the taxi."

    "The hotel staff tried calling her at six, but she was gone already. At least you seem to be making a connection with her."

    Raiye shrugs. "Well, something was bound to go right sometime today."

    "This might be all we get." He glances at Amara, who looks their way. "She's clearly independent."


    "I noticed that."

    "Did you see her sizing us up?" Raiye asks. "Like she was going to fight?"

    "Um, no... she seemed pretty comfortable. She didn't flinch or shrink away at all..."

    "I think it's cause she could take you down. The kid is strong."

    "Huh. That's embarrassing." She did not look more than a hundred pounds. "How did she seem? I'm thinking trauma, neglect..."

    "Honestly, I'm thinking Central Services removed her from a cult."

    Heuse stares hard. "Keep that thought to yourself."

    "It's because--"

    "I don't care."

    "Okay. Okay."

    The girl frowns as Mr. Raiye glances at her and looks away, his head lowered. He shifts his weight, alternating feet; he crosses his arms and hunches his shoulders. Agitated, caging himself into docility as Mr. Heuse's posture straightens.

    "People gossip. She doesn't need that."

    "I know."

    They are silent awhile.

    Heuse offers, "I think you're right in that they pulled her out of something awful."

    "She's safe now, though."

    "Yeah. It's the one thing about her we can be certain about. Thanks for your help."

    The girl watches Mr. Raiye relax as Mr. Heuse pats his shoulder and leaves the room, smiling and waving at her as he goes. Its meaning escapes her, but she feels a great tension loosen, something she never noticed was there.

    Thanks for reading! :)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2023
  17. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    great to see your new OC's interact with Mara. She must have experienced something awful to be like this to her new school and teachers
  18. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you! :)

    I tend to interpret younger Mara as lacking in social skills due to the fact that her whole life as been dedicated to learning how to kill. But all these teachers know is that she is a traumatized child and the system is failing to protect her.
  19. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Catching up! :D

    Oh, wow. I didn't expect to have Daala/Tarkin feelings reading this - that's a ship that normally squicks me out - but congratulations, I have Daala/Tarkin feelings now, which is quite the achievement. :p I was really struck by just how deep Daala's connection is to Tarkin. Tarkin wasn't just a means to an end to get where she wanted to be, nor was it mere fanatical loyalty, she loved him - and it hurts even more that he didn't return that in full - and that's . . . well, there's something tragic about their story - and now Carim's mirror story with Daala, so to speak. =((

    I also liked the detail of Vader flinching - that little bit of Anakin left inside him reacting to Alderaan's destruction, perhaps? [face_thinking]

    Excellent use of the prompt, and awesome SW-esque worldbuilding. :cool:

    Well, I'll be - Tarkin did have a heart somewhere deep down inside - very, very deep down, at least. His regret isn't enough to stop him from utilizing the Death Star again, but this pang of conscious is still something. This was a very interesting character study. =D=

    Oh man. [face_laugh] Poor Mara and her terrible, no good, very bad day. :p

    These details and those like it were all excellent insights into how Mara would see the world as the Emperor's Hand! =D=

    =(( [face_love]!!

    Your Run is off to an excellent start! Keep up the good work! =D=
  20. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you! [face_laugh]

    Now that I've neutralized a squick, my next goal for my Tarkin Mush Writing Challenge is to elicit a SQUEE! I know it's improbable, but it's not impossible. :p

    I think their relationship is very tragic, if only because it lasts such a short time and then haunts her for the rest of her life. She just cannot reconcile his public image as the monster who murdered billions with the only person who saw and believed in her within a crushingly toxic and invalidating environment. He puts an end to the gaslighting that would have her believe that there is no misogyny problem in the military and she's just bad at her job; how can the only decent person in the fleet be among the worst people in the galaxy?

    She thinks their relationship is like Titanic and other people just don't understand. But she has enough insight to assert boundaries with Carim.

    Absolutely; if Obi-Wan could hear their deaths, so could he.

    Thank you!

    Thanks! I think of him as Lawful Evil in Dungeons & Dragons terms, in that he has a messed up moral code, but he definitely has one. For instance, he knows that if their side doesn't win the war, history will be written by the Rebels and this act will stain his family name forever.

    It's just the worst. :D

    Thank you! :)

    Awww, thank you so much! I really appreciate your feedback and encouragement. :)
  21. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 12, 2018
    Why do they sound so sure that she's... safe? Or that they're... safe? o_O Good characterizations and I wonder if this will be continued in... other places/challenges. [face_thinking]
  22. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Week #4

    Title: A Disaster
    Timeframe: Beyond Legends
    Characters: Cilghal
    Genre(s): Action
    Keywords: Challenge, Cilghal, Dac
    Summary: Teenage Cilghal's exam is a disaster, but what follows is an actual disaster.
    Notes: Week 4 of the Kessel Run Challenge, 2023:
    - Write a story between 100 and 1,000 words that is predominantly action.
    - Word limit = 100-1,000 words
    Word Count: 909

    Cilghal's examiner does not believe in accommodations. While her classmates easily remain in suspension and weave and knot their scrolls with precision and an even tension, Cilghal frequently drifts and must flail back into position. She is used to the embarrassment, but she wishes she could do this while anchored to the rock with a holdfast rope. It would be so easy, and her examiner's backwards attitude is one reason she wants to leave this town.

    She has expected to perform poorly; she has felt the weight of dread since she awoke this morning. Facing the fear when the dreaded event is upon her has a way of transforming it into something else, but this is not happening; the feeling is getting worse. She abandons the class and her exam and swims away.

    It is Mon Cal custom-- at least in this region-- to allow a distressed stranger space to compose themselves before approaching them, for the sake of their dignity. Therefore, no one stops her as she leaves the school entirely, whimpering and with her chest heaving with sobs. She passes the outskirts of her town to the reef, and continues until she reaches her favourite spot, the one that makes her calm.

    It is low tide; she can stand on this part of the reef and look around. The day is peaceful with barely a breeze.

    The dread is here, too. It is worsening, sharpening, and forming a direction: east. She gathers her courage to look.

    The sun is close to the horizon; it is still early. She cannot see anything wrong, but there is danger coming from there. She has no idea what she is supposed to hide or flee from. She keeps observing, waiting for something to appear on the horizon, until she gasps in horror.

    The sun is retreating.

    The gap between the sun and horizon is shrinking. It is as though the planet is reversing direction. As the horizon starts blocking out the sun, she screams and dives straight down. Down, down, until she hits sand. Now what?

    She smells the water and listens. It is very quiet, and the creatures of the reef are not here. They are hiding. She must hide.

    This reef is too sharp; she will be torn up. Pumice is better, and holdfasts grip to it. She swims back towards town as fast as she can, until the reef meets volcanic rock. She continues to where she knows there will be caves.

    There it is, and she is not allowed in under any circumstances. While she is female, she is also a minor, and the fact that it is not breeding season does not make trespassing any better. She hesitates, lingering outside, until the fear accumulates into terror, and she rushes for its shelter.

    This place is spacious and comfortable, with many dips and hollows lined with soft weeds. Ladies lounge here for weeks and even months waiting for the right gentlemen bearing gifts; gifts that they tie up with holdfast rope-weeds--

    She finds a good spot around the corner, with many lengths of anchored rope-weed, and ties herself a harness plus two backups.

    She waits, catching her breath. She paces her breathing, and minutes pass. She racks her brain for what she has learned so far of astrophysics. It is more likely that the planet is moving irregularly than the sun. Would the change in spin cause an atmospheric disturbance? They have not hit a rogue planet, have they? Is the planet not turning, or has it reversed direction? Or-- her stomach drops and she closes her eyes and hugs her knees to her chest in time to hear the horrible roaring, getting louder and louder.

    Something is trying to pull her out of this cave. The water itself is pulling her, sucking her out, as though she were the tiny prey of an enormous sand star, forcing her apart like a bivalve's shell. The harnesses hold.

    Before she can breathe again, an enormous bubble invades the space like a silver worm, and she forces her ear muscles closed, don't pop, don't pop--

    The water returns and the cycle continues.

    She wakes. She can feel her gills fluttering, painfully panting, and she is desperately hungry for oxygen. But her blood pressure is still very low; she feels lethargic and foggy. She can see the light of the entrance and wants to be there, where there is more oxygen, and her shaking hands fumble with the knots until she is free.

    She swims toward the light and her nictitating membranes reflexively shut. She cannot see anything but this cloud in the water, and the stinging of her gills tells her that it is sand. The wave has stirred up the sand on the ocean floor. She shuts her gills and kicks hard as she swims for the surface. She breaches it and gasps, filling her lungs like balloons. Glorious oxygen!

    She lay back, just breathing, dazed and surprised to see little peaceful puffs of clouds drifting as leisurely as before. At last she calms, and she has several epiphanies that make her feel foolish.

    The sun was not setting, the horizon was lifting as the wave approached. Maybe a meteorite made the ocean rise, but it was probably an earthquake.

    The sand will settle, and she will be able to survey the damage to her town--

    She rushes toward home, and the water begins to smell like blood.

    Thanks for reading! :)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2023
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Aww to be caught in a natural disaster. That's action.
    And just like the action that started 70 years ago when parts of the Netherlands were flooded. It is all on screen now to remember the big flood and what was done to remedy it
  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    First Mission: Such fantastic insight into teenage Mara on her first mission! She doesn't really know how to behave differently, so she does everything the way she was trained to (oh the way she was sizing up the school staff, and doesn't understand the concept of food, just of nourishment) and can't really manage to blend in. Mr. Raiye comes across as really good people and with a good sense of observation; it's sad that she thinks of him as her "handler" at first, but it seems that something got through to her in the end. I wonder if you had something in mind for the actual mission, because my guess is that it's actually to learn how to operate in the normal world.

    A Disaster: This was a really cool and unexpected take on the "action" prompt. First, because "action" would in most cases entail several characters, and second, because of the lens through which we see it all, which is that of a character who, because she doesn't quite understand what's going on, is essentially in a passive position, unable to influence what is going on. I loved all the world-building in this story and how you integrated Cilghal latent Force-sensitivity in it, but also the inclusion of the RL effects of when a tsunami hits. =D=
  25. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 12, 2018
    Oh wow, powerful emotions and action combined together. And the devastation sounds like it will be massive. Excellent response to the challenge. :)
    Kahara and UltramassiveUbersue like this.