Beyond - Legends Slave Crusades Drabbles (UDC 5) - Finished

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tarsier, May 19, 2010.

  1. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Title: Slave Crusades Drabbles
    Author: Tarsier
    Timeframe: late New Republic era
    Characters: Callista, Hand of Judgement, Blue, Fenig Nabon, Ghitsa Dogder, Platt Okeefe, Tru'eb Cholakk, Jai Raventhorn, Dirk Harkness, OCs, Mara, Luke, Han
    Genre: drabbles
    Summary: This will mostly be about Callista, and various others hired by her, trying to free slaves on Tatooine.
    **Starting with Week 14, I switched to my Worth Fighting For timeline, starring Callista, Luke, Benji, Mara, Dankin, and Odonnl.**
    Notes: Written for Ultimate Drabble Challenge 5.

    Week One: The Trouble with Centaurs

    1. Doctor

    They needed a doctor. Unfortunately it would be days before they could get medical care for Brightwater's broken femur. Days of trudging through the desert, taking turns supporting the badly injured solider.

    "I'll take over for a bit," Callista offered, coming up beside LaRone. Under normal circumstances LaRone would have refused. Stormtroopers took care of their own. But in this case it was Callista's fault they were here, so LaRone didn't mind sharing the burden. Brightwater bit back a curse as they accidentally let too much weight shift onto his broken leg while trading positions. They really needed a doctor.

    2. Companion

    Chasa knew what she had to do. The injured human's companions could scarcely bear his weight. They were much too slow, everyone would die of dehydration if they didn't move faster. She stepped toward the humans, away from her fellow Chironians. "I will carry him," she said.

    "You will not!" Tracker declared, stepping between her and the humans. "Such debasement will not occur on my watch."

    "They are too slow," Chasa replied. "I will not die with freedom so close." She pushed past Tracker and knelt beside the injured human. "On my back," she said, taking the injured human's hand.

    3. Time

    How much time has passed? Brightwater wondered vaguely. How long can a broken leg go untreated before the injury becomes permanent?

    They were moving faster now, and he no longer had to hobble along. He was grateful for that. But he was not any more comfortable than the centaur beneath him. He set his hands uncertainly on the line between her chestnut hair and pale skin. She trembled beneath his touch. He started to pull his hands away, but she placed her hands over his to keep them in place. "We can't afford to lose time if you fall off."

    4. Space

    Callista couldn't help but notice the space between Chasa and the other Chironians. Apparently carrying Brightwater had defiled her, it seemed she may never be accepted by her people now. Callista shook her head. Who would have thought it would be this hard? All she wanted was to free slaves. She'd always known that would mean overcoming slaveowners. She hadn't realized it would mean having to protect the people she hired from the newly freed slaves. She still couldn't believe the Chironian had kicked Brightwater just as he was releasing his chains. Didn't he know they were trying to help?

    5. Dimensions

    Callista leaned back into the cool sand, letting the vastness of the night sky overwhelm her. It was getting cold and she wondered if they should keep moving to stay warm at night, and rest during the heat of the day. She wasn't a trained strategist, she didn't know about such things. At any rate, since they had stopped now, they might as well go on and rest for a while. She stared at the starry sky and wondered if there were alternate dimensions out there somewhere. And if she was a failure at everything in all of them too.
  2. Raphire

    Raphire Jedi Knight star 4

    Dec 19, 2008
    Wow. Very good! Is this your first story?

    I loved your choice of character!

  3. Maggy

    Maggy Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 2, 2004
    interesting glimpses into the struggle of helping their friend

    ~ Mags ~
  4. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Is this your first story? I?ve written a couple other stories, including a one-shot that is a prequel to these drabbles (they are linked in my profile). Thanks for the comments!


    Author Note: I'm trying to come up with a title for each set of drabbles, but I'm not especially liking this week's title (Black and Blue). Any suggestions would be very welcome.

    Week 2: Black and Blue

    6. Island

    Sasha was trapped on an island. An island that flew through space faster than lightspeed. She knew she could outrun her captors, if only there was somewhere to run to. But there was nowhere, nothing but death in deep space.

    Her captors, she would never call them masters, were slaverunners, delivering unfortunate members a various species to a life of subjugation. If only they would deliver Sasha. If only she get off the ship, she knew she could escape. But they kept her, her brother, and Tahlia onboard to scrub the decks.

    If only there was somewhere to run to.

    7. Survival

    It was strange, to say the least, to be working with someone who had lost all instincts for survival. Blue was spiced, that much was obvious to Callista. She was constantly mumbling about killing Han Solo, apparently for murdering someone named Davis. Between the spice and the vendetta, Blue had no interest in her own safety, her only concern revenge for something Callista was fairly confident had never happened. But Callista could use that. If she could convince Blue the slavers were somehow connected to Solo, she would just have to turn her loose and get out of the way.

    8. Lost

    The battle was short. They snuck up on the pirate ship while it was leisurely orbiting Tatooine, waiting for the transport to return. They quietly boarded. And then Callista lost all control of the situation. Blue led her team on a bloodthirsty, suicidal run toward the bridge. They killed the pirates and took the bridge. A single pirate managed to escape the onslaught; he got the drop on Blue. The young slave stopped him, but did not survive the blaster wound.


    Spiro couldn't believe he'd lost Tahlia. He was free, Sasha was free, but it didn't matter. He'd lost everything.

    9. Other

    Sasha's fist steps onboard the other ship were cautious. She had not been a slave so long that she forgot what freedom was like. Yet somehow she struggled to believe this was real, she was finally free. Spiro was oblivious, his thoughts still with Tahlia. Sasha would mourn her, but not until she knew they were safe.


    His other half was gone. Spiro knew he was young, some would say too young, to have found the love of his life. But he had. Sasha pulled him forward, following their rescuer. He would rather have followed Tahlia to the other side.

    10. Flashback

    She was a Jedi Knight again, leading younglings out of the temple. A figure appeared, just visible in the darkened corridor ahead. She froze, not knowing what to do. She could run, but she could not take the younglings with her. She could fight, but she knew she would lose. It was over in a flash, before she even ignited her lightsaber.

    Callista shook her head, trying to break away from the flashback. The younglings had not made it out of the dark corridor that day, just as the young slave girl would not see the light of freedom today.
  5. Maggy

    Maggy Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 2, 2004
    6. Island
    sounds rather helpless, it's not easy to think of freedom when you have to consider others on your way out of being kept.

    7. Survival
    uhh Callista intending to kill Solo [face_worried]

    8. Lost
    :_| so close to freedom and all lost :(

    9. Other
    Heart wrenching
    good capture of their grief and own personal way to deal with it

    10. Flashback
    Poor Callista [/quote]
  6. FelsGoddess

    FelsGoddess Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 5, 2004
    ?I will not die with freedom so close.? Powerful line.

    Other- :(

  7. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Thanks for all the comments!! I guess I wasn't clear (confining the story to 100 words can be tough!), Blue wants to kill Solo, not Callista. And Blue's too spiced to follow through, so no need to worry about Han. :)

    Thank you!!:)

    Author Note: In case anyone's keeping track, each set of drabbles covers one slave-freeing mission, but they are not in chronological order. This is the first mission chronologically.

    Week 3: First Mistake

    11. Far (narrator: Fenig Nabon)

    Freeing slaves on Tatooine was a far cry from my usual trade, but I could use the work and I'd had a few business dealings with Callista before, so I knew she was good for the money. I'd never run slaves--there were some lines even I would never cross--so it's not like I felt I owed some moral debt I needed to repay. I was just in it for the money.

    But that doesn't mean I didn't expect Callista to have it together. Doesn't mean I didn't expect her to keep the blood of slaves off our hands.

    12. Prisoners (narrator: Ghitsa Dogder)

    "There are two basic types of slaves. The first I call detonator-class: these slaves have implants that will obliterate them if they leave a certain circumference; species include humans and Twi'leks. The second is prisoner-class: these are typically those species who would commit suicide if they had implants, and they are chained or otherwise externally bound. For this mission we are targeting only prisoner-class slaves." Callista paused for a breath.

    I cut in so maybe we could get through this mission while we were still young. "Look, sweetie, I don't need a lecture. Just tell me what the con is."

    13. Peacekeepers (narrator: Ghitsa Dogder)

    Jedi Peacekeeper. My favorite con. And so close to having a real lightsaber this time. But, no, Callista insisted she needed it to cut the slaves free. I sighed at the useless cylinder in my hand. It just meant I'd have to be a more convincing actress.

    "Greetings, all," I declared as I entered the small outpost. Drawing attention to myself had never been a challenge for me. Fifteen minutes later, the crowd mesmerized by my Jedi skills, a kid ran up and whispered something to his mother. One look at her face and I knew the gig was up.

    14. Uncharted (narrator: Callista)

    "Time's up," Ghitsa's voice chirped. Perfect. The wookiees freed, I glanced over at Fen. She took off down the alley, blaster drawn. The wookiees caught on quickly, following Fen. I brought up the rear. We were nearly to the ship when I noticed someone running alongside us, someone else seeking freedom. She was a Twi'lek child. I couldn't stop her; we hit her perimeter. I just stared as she blossomed into fire.

    This was uncharted territory and I knew I was bound to make a few mistakes. But I never considered that it would be others who paid for them.

    15. Scape (narrator: Callista)

    We made a hasty escape with the wookiees. They were a little too grateful, hugging and thanking us so much that I had to lock them out of the bridge while Fen flew us out.

    As the ship lifted off I looked out at the unforgiving landscape, wondering if the Twi'lek child had a family that would miss her. Fen was so furious she was nearly frothing, she could hardly even steer the ship straight. Ghitsa kept up her I'm-just-in-it-for-the-money-I-don't-care-about-the-stupid-Twi'lek attitude, but beneath all that makeup and bravado I could tell that tonight, at least, her dreams would be haunted.
  8. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Week 4: Game Change

    16. Smart

    "You won't find a better deal. One slave for one droid, even exchange. Droids are the future. In a couple years slaves will be obsolete. I'm offering you an opportunity."

    "Not interested. Droids break. They're expensive to repair."

    "If it breaks, call me. I'll fix it myself."

    "We've had slaves running the evaporator for generations. My grandfather didn't need your fancy droids and neither do I."

    "But--" Callista was cut off as yet another door slammed in her face. She'd spoken to nearly every slaver in Mos Eisley and not one of them had agreed to her offer.

    17. 99

    She'd tried everything:

    "Slaves are sentient, just like you and me. They think and feel and suffer."

    "Slavery is outlawed, if the Republic police get wind of this they'll take everything."

    "Droids never run away, they never fight back."

    "The XC-99 is more efficient than any living being, it'll pay for itself in a year."

    "No more mistakes. Droids never miscalculate."

    "You don't have to feed a droid, minimal space requirements, no worries about heatstroke, and they never slow down with exhaustion."

    But no one even considered giving up their slaves. Callista was desperate when she approached her final target.

    18. Chief

    He was the chief slaver of the city. If she could convince him, maybe the others would follow. She ran through her entire pitch without the Devaronian interrupting. When she was done, he motioned to one of his guards, who left, returning with a pink Twi'lek. The Twi'lek was dressed in a diminutive dancing outfit that revealed purple scars all over her body.

    "You would, for example, trade me that shiny chunk of metal for this?" The Devaronian asked, stroking the Twi'lek in a way that churned Callista's stomach. The Twi'lek just watched her master. She knew no other life.

    19. Agents

    "Let me see the droid." The squat droid obediently rolled up to the Devaronian. The slavemaster stroked the droid just as he had the Twi'lek. He let out a low moan. "No, this won't work. This won't work, not at all. The metal lacks . . . warmth. The softness of flesh." He leered at Callista. "But you do possess something I am interested in." He licked his lips.

    Callista noted two guards had appeared behind her, blocking the only exit.

    "Okay," she replied seductively, stepping closer to the Devaronian. "Just tell me what you want and it's all yours."

    20. Shoe

    He hadn't expected that response, of course. Nor had he expected her shoe to contact his jaw with enough force to bruise her foot inside.

    The guards behind her scarcely put up more of a fight than their leader. They'd stripped her blaster before letting her enter, but hadn't even noticed her lightsaber until seconds before the glowing blade made contact.

    She grabbed the Twi'lek slave and ran. Lightsaber drawn, no one else tried to stop her.

    Callista had tried to play fair, but meeting the Devaronian had changed the game. This was no longer a negotiation. This was war.
  9. Maggy

    Maggy Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 2, 2004
    great - Callista finally noticed and understood that there was no fair play with the slavers

  10. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Callista finally noticed and understood that there was no fair play with the slavers

    Exactly. Thanks for reading!

    Week 5: Rebels

    21. Super

    He was . . . superannuated. She was . . . pretty, certainly. But Callista didn't need wisdom or good looks. She needed strength and speed. If it had been up to her, the old man and the girl with a pretty face and dull eyes would stay on the ship and the white-haired mercenary and muscular Twi'lek would be on the ground with her. But the team she'd hired insisted this was the way they worked.

    The Twi'lek must have picked up on Callista's skepticism. "Did you say this was the former site of a stormtrooper garrison?" he asked.

    22. Bat

    "Yes, our targets were originally enslaved by the Empire, long ago." Callista replied, at first not sure why that was important. But a moment later, even without her Force-powers she could feel a difference in the air.

    Jai's eyes were no longer dull. They burned with a fire so intense Callista took a step away from her. Harkness didn't look younger exactly, but somehow Callista no longer wondered if he could keep up. Rather, she imagined his enemies running like bats out of hell and still unable to outpace him.

    "One word," Tru'eb, the Twi'lek, offered with a wink. "Vendetta."

    23. Wonder

    The Imperials had abandoned the base long ago and it was now under the control of spicelords. The targets were detonator-class wookiees. The plan was simple. The slaves would detonate if they crossed over wires buried in the ground, so they simply wouldn't cross the wires. They would fly the ship inside the wires, load the slaves, and then fly straight up.

    For a wonder, everything went according to plan. Jai and Harkness disabled the anti-aircraft turbolasers stationed around the base. Callista gathered the slaves without major incident. Platt quietly flew the ship to where the slaves could be loaded.

    24. Hawk

    The hardest part was trying to load the slaves without landing the ship. Platt did an excellent job of hovering, but still the boarding ramp bounced wildly as they tried to scramble onboard. Callista desperately missed her Force abilities as she attempted to give a wookiee a boost toward the ship. Thankfully, Tru'eb proved even stronger than he looked and pulled the wookiee up before Callista was crushed.

    Jai and Harkness returned under a hail of blaster fire. They were just able to grab the edge of the ramp and cling like hawk-bats as the ship rose into the air.

    25. Lantern

    Callista could hardly believe it. No slave casualties, no major injuries, everyone was safe and sound. Before this mission she'd been at the brink of giving up. But now she had a ray of hope, a lantern in the darkness.

    Callista still puzzled over Harkness and Jai's intense reactions to the mention of stormtroopers, but figured it wasn't that big of a deal. There were lots of people who had bad memories of stormtroopers, especially former Rebels. Mostly she was glad to have a dependable new team and her mind raced with ideas for new missions, for even bigger operations.
  11. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Trying to catch up. These two drabbles are not related, other than occurring on the same timeline as all the others.

    Week 6 (UDC1 Week 9): Another Life

    26. Rebirth

    Seven years ago, Callista was reborn. It was not the first time. At first she thought she was given this newest life because of Luke Skywalker. She no longer believed this.

    If anyone was responsible for her continued existence it was Anakin. The Chosen One who had annihilated his fellow Jedi. Yet he had spared her, saved her. And so she lived long after all the others were gone, even him.

    She owed her life to him, was she now to do his bidding? No. She couldn't. She wouldn't. There must be something else, some other meaning to her life.

    27. Scars

    One day Callista discovered her body had scarred without ever having been injured. The transformation was complete.

    The scars reminded her. Reminded her of her past life. Reminded her of the people she had known and lost.

    Geith, her best friend, who was with her to the end. Almost.

    Yoda, revered by all. Yet did not see what stared him in the face until far too late.

    Qui-Gon Jinn, the wisest Jedi she had even known. Who had been dead wrong about everything.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi, who tried so hard and failed so miserably.

    Anakin Skywalker. The cause of it all.

    28. Disease

    At first she thought of it as a disease. And if it was a disease, there must be a cure for it. She searched everywhere for it. Luke searched everywhere for it. What should have brought them together drove them apart.

    When she left she'd intended to return. She hadn't yet accepted the truth.

    Eventually she did: she would never again touch the light side of the Force. It was not so much the fact as the reason behind it that drove her to the brink.

    29. Agony

    She was one of very few who remained. The others were shot in the back, they didn't have the chance to face the traitor. She envied them.

    His eyes were hidden behind a black mask. Were they blue? Were the red? Was there hope or was he lost forever?

    If she killed him would she be a savior or a murderer?

    It didn't matter. The battle was short.

    There was agony, there was death. And then there was something else--healing. But the healing was painful. Wrong.

    That's when it happened. That's when she was cut off from the light side.

    30. Healing

    When she missed her powers, she drank. When she missed Luke, she gambled. There was no particular reason, other than Jedi didn't drink much and it seemed like Luke wouldn't approve of gambling. But they provided enough of a distraction. And it turned out she was a pretty good gambler.

    Eventually she'd come to accept the fact that she was no longer a Jedi. That she and Luke were not to be. She stopped drinking and stopped gambling. Her body was a gift, her life a second chance. She decided she'd better find a way to make it all worthwhile.

    Week 7: Psych

    31. Iron

    Syke was Force-sensitive but not a Jedi. He was dangerous in his own way, but he did not have the makings of an iron-fisted conqueror. He was simply not that ambitious.

    If he used the dark side he only dabbled in it. He was far too interested in controlling his own destiny to allow himself to be ruled by his emotions.

    He rarely even manipulated the Force, though he was quite powerful. Instead he simply let the Force flow into him, to enhance his physical strength and sharpen his reflexes.

    He wasn't evil, but that didn't mean he wasn't crazy.

    32. Challenge

    Working with Syke was going to be a challenge, Callista saw that immediately. But she was running out of options—at least for the moment, she seemed to have burned the bridges to everyone with a conscience.

    The plan was to sneak into a hyperdrive manufacturing plant and destroy the main computer, which would, among other things, deactivate the electronic collars on the slaves working the machines. She hoped the computer failure would also cause enough confusion that they would then be able to collect the slaves and get out with relative ease.

    They never even got near the computer.

    33. Stadium

    From his early memories he was a stadium fighter. He had a long strip of bars tattooed on his neck, one for each opponent he defeated. He’d never lost. He was born to be a fighter, never wanted to be anything else. Until he met her.


    Syke never thought he’d see her again. But there she was, in a junkyard beside the building they had infiltrated. He’d never mistake her chocolate-colored hair, her burgundy eyes.

    He had to save her. A moment after he saw her, Syke broke out the third-story window and jumped to the ground. Alarms blared.

    34. Chairman

    Callista was tied to a chair, a man pacing in front of her. She knew she shouldn’t have trusted Syke, but she hadn’t expected him to bail on her quite that suddenly. Or that dramatically. It had been over the second the alarms sounded. Callista hadn’t been willing to brave a three-story jump, and she was soon surrounded.

    There was a sudden commotion in the hallway. Her pulse quickened.


    Syke shouldn’t have told Sungazer why he was on Tatooine. If she hadn’t known, she wouldn’t have made him go back. And she wouldn’t have taken that blow to the head.

    35. Chef

    Callista finished affixing the feeding tube to Sungazer and looked toward Syke. “Not exactly the chef’s special, but it’ll do until she wakes up.” If she wakes up, she added silently.

    Syke nodded. Callista left them alone.

    She wondered what the old order would have thought of Syke. Probably not much. He violated every aspect of the code, yet didn’t seem at all tempted by the dark side. He was a questionable threat to himself and others, but not the galaxy at large.

    Syke would not have fit into the old order at all. But then again, neither had she.
  12. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Week 8: Missing Pieces

    36. Ducks

    Mara watched as her niece and nephews fed breadcrumbs to the ducks. One bird was eating out of Jaina's hand. Jacen took Anakin's hand, carefully guiding his younger brother so he could pet the animal.

    It was strange, to think of them as her family. To think of anyone as her family. Strange, but wonderful.

    Yet somehow all her new found relationships had left her wanting more. Wanting to know more about her own blood relatives. They had to be out there, somewhere. At least, there must be some record of where she came from, of who her parents were.

    37. Money

    Luke and Leia had conspired. They called Lando, set up the sabaac table, then disappeared, ignoring the objections.

    "Nice of your spouses to set up this playdate. But it's too bad they won't let you play for real money," Lando challenged.

    Mara and Han exchanged a look.

    Two hours later, a pile of credits between them and Lando gone with empty pockets, Mara remarked, "That wasn't half as painful as I expected."

    "You know," Han replied, "I've been wanting to check out the weapons expo. What do you say we call Winter and Wedge and set up our own playdate?"

    38. Uncle

    Luke loved being an uncle. But now he was ready to be a father. Well, "ready" wasn't exactly the right word, but he wasn't getting any younger and he was as prepared as he would ever be. But was Mara ready to be a mother, that was the real question.

    Mara got along great with Leia's children. Luke was sure she would make an excellent mom. But whenever he tried to subtly bring it up, she changed the subject and threw up her defenses. It pained him that she was so evasive, that she wouldn't talk to him about it.

    39. Gizmo

    Mara watched as Anakin fiddled with a mechanical gadget. He felt her watching, looked up and smiled. It was still hard to believe someone had left their child in her care.

    Mara knew Luke was thinking about children. It would have been almost impossible not to know. But she wasn't ready. First she needed to know more about her own parents. She needed to know why they had let her be taken and raised by the Emperor. She needed to know why they had failed to protect her. And if it meant she would fail to protect her own children.

    40. Tales

    The galaxy was at peace. The academy could run without him. For the first time since he could remember Luke was able to do nothing but relax.

    Luke had never been very good at relaxing and his mind still ran a mile a minute. Currently, it was drifting toward the past, with thoughts of the Old Jedi Order. He wished he knew more about it. A number of ancient tales had been gathered, but they didn't cover the technical aspects, the how-to of training Jedi.

    Luke sighed. The information must be out there somewhere, he'd just have to look harder.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Hi tarsier! Thanks for the L/M goodness. :* The ruminating about having kids -- and Mara finding out about her parents and all the unknown whys and why nots -- helps with a tiny mushy bunny I'm working on. [face_dancing]


  14. Maggy

    Maggy Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 2, 2004
    sorry to have fallen behind with those
    I really like the Callista sets ... the 'other life' ones - really great
    and L/M - sweetness :D
  15. FelsGoddess

    FelsGoddess Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 5, 2004
    So sorry I fell behind. [face_blush]

    Lovely pieces! I especially liked Disease and Agony. Ducks was adorable.

    Money- [face_laugh]

  16. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Hi, Jade_eyes! Glad you liked my L/M. Very cool that it helped with your bunny. I'm running out of missions for Callista, so I may go back to L/M again later, it will mostly depend on the prompts.

    Maggy and FelsGoddess - No need to apologize! I got way behind, then posted a bunch at once, so it was really my own fault. Not to mention that I'm always way behind on commenting myself. The Another Life prompts fit my version of Callista remarkably well, I really just had to choose that set.

    Week 9: Allies and Enemies

    41. Murder

    The Empire had murdered everything that had ever meant anything to Jai Raventhorn. She could not forgive and she would never forget.

    Though they were not wearing armor, when she saw them she immediately recognized them as stormtroopers.

    Never lose sight of the mission, the military mantra echoed through Jai's mind. She pushed the thought away. The Rebellion was dead. She now had but one mission, one goal that eclipsed all others: Vengeance.

    She didn't think about the slaves, she didn't think about her team.

    She thought of Krül. She thought of Morgan.

    She charged toward the first stormtrooper.

    42. Mystery

    Saberan Marcross was finally able to breathe easy as he strode up the ramp onto the getaway ship. They'd made it with all the slaves, no fatalities, no significant injuries. He was waving the slaves onto the ship when he was struck from behind. He fell to the floor, never even seeing what hit him.


    LaRone knew that Callista sometimes hired lawless radicals. But he didn't know she would hire them, the ones who turned order into chaos.

    The moment he saw Marcross stagger, a cloud of scarlet narrowed LaRone's vision until he could see nothing but the Rebel terrorist.

    43. Writer

    A holodrama writer could hardly have made a more horrifying scene.

    Blood. Crimson splattered everywhere--down the ramp of the ship, across the landing pad.

    Fear. Slaves huddled together, peering out of the ship.

    Passion. Screaming in hate, screaming for peace.

    Callista swallowed hard as she moved quickly toward the action. Her previous thought processes, sickeningly naïve, replayed through her head. I just won't mention to either side who they'll be working with. Better that they find out when they will be forced to work together, when they won't have time for petty vendettas.

    After all, the war is over.

    44. Retired

    Tru'eb threw himself between Jai and LaRone. "We're mercs! We're all just mercs!" he exclaimed.

    Platt grabbed Jai from behind as Brightwater and Marcross tried to restrain LaRone. Quiller tried to pull Grave off Harkness and got a fist to the chin for his trouble.

    "You're deserters, both of you," Tru'eb continued. "You gave up being enemies when you left." Grave and Harkness broke apart for the moment and settled for glaring death at one another.

    Beside them, Jai twisted away from Platt as LaRone knocked Tru'eb out of the way. Neither of them had heard a word Tru'eb said.

    45. Teacher

    Jai had a broken nose, Callista discovered with relief. That explained all the blood without someone being mortally wounded. And for good measure, it looked like LaRone's nose was broken too. Apparently the Rebellion and the Empire taught similar techniques for hand-to-hand combat.

    Callista's relief was short lived as she realized they were not going to stop until one of them was dead. She raised her blaster, thanking the Force they were unarmed.

    She squeezed the trigger; they fell as the stun blast washed over them. Bastion Accords or not, it seemed for some the war would never be over.

    Week 10: Kayan

    46. Captain

    “Congratulations, you’re an excellent pilot,” the kindly older captain said as he handed Kayan a trophy. Kayan scowled, extremely tempted to throw the trophy back at the man’s head. “Smile, you’ve won,” he urged. Kayan’s scowl deepened. He felt not only that he hadn’t won the race today, but that he’d just lost every competition he’d ever entered.

    Kayan had flown his speeder slowly today, as slowly as he could stand. Then he’d slammed on his breaks just before the finish line. He should have lost by kilometers, yet somehow they still had the nerve to tell him he’d won.

    47. Pilot

    This could mean only one thing: the race was rigged. They’d let him win. Gone so far out of their way to ensure he won that it was embarrassing. Painfully so. And if they’d let him win this race, they must have let him win all the others too.

    They called him a Prince, they hung on his every word, they gave him countless awards. And yet not one of them respected him enough to give him a fair test of his skill. He could be the worst pilot to ever take the controls and he’d never even know it.

    48. Mechanic

    Kayan didn’t know if he was a good pilot. He had no way to judge, no one to compare himself to. But at least he knew he was a decent mechanic. Things were broken and he fixed them. They couldn’t lie to him about that.

    He fiddled with the engine to his speeder, something that usually brought him happiness, or at least a sense of accomplishment. Not today. Today it only reminded him how useless the vehicle was. He could fiddle with the engine till the day he died, but it would never take him where he wanted to go.

    49. Mercenary

    Kayan knew his father was a mercenary, someone from far beyond this planet. That was all he was certain of. Others referred to his father only as the “hated stranger.” Supposedly Kayan’s father had abducted the Queen, but Kayan was not convinced. His mother was not just a leader but a warrior—smart, strong, able to defend herself. How could she have been abducted against her will? No, Kayan didn’t believe his father was the villain he was made out to be. He simply had not fit in on this backwards planet. And Kayan had nothing but empathy for that.

    50. Serenity

    Kayan rode deep into the forest, to where the stars in the night sky sparkled most brightly. His thoughts were in turmoil and he sought the tranquility of the wilderness.

    He patted Rose on the neck, musing that she was the only one who saw him as himself. Or perhaps she too smelled the scent of his mother on him, and that is why she obeyed him so willingly.

    He sighed and looked upward, knowing he would never find serenity while he was bound to this planet. His destiny lie elsewhere, out among the stars. He was sure of it.
  17. FelsGoddess

    FelsGoddess Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 5, 2004
    Murder- Great display of intensity.

    Writer- Very powerful. One of the best you've written.

    Mercenary- Great reflections.

    He sighed and looked upward, knowing he would never find serenity while he was bound to this planet. His destiny lie elsewhere, out among the stars. He was sure of it. Love that line.


  18. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    FelsGoddess - You're so nice! Thanks for all the comments! I'm glad the Writer drabble worked out okay. I had no idea what I was going to do with that word, then I came up with the "holodrama writer" line and that one word pretty much controlled the whole set.

    Week 11: Kayan II

    51. Office

    He had long dark brown hair. Half of it was formed into a mohawk, held in place by jeweled clips. The rest was tied back in a simple ponytail.

    Prince Kayan, as they called him, lived in an elected monarchy. There was no elected office of "Prince," he was given that title because long ago his mother was the most beloved Queen her people had ever known. Kayan was royalty without power in the purest sense.

    Most of the time Kayan found the whole situation to be somewhere between mildly irritating and incredibly frustrating. Nevertheless, it did have its perks.

    52. Sales

    "How much for these?"

    "You know your money is no good here, Prince."

    "Please, don't use that title. Call me Kayan." The supple leather riding boots were a striking shade of turquoise. Kayan slipped them onto his feet and stood up.

    "They look impeccable on you, my lord."

    Kayan turned sharply. His blue eyes, bright and piercing, stared down at the shorter man. "I said, call me Kayan."

    The man nodded, avoiding Kayan's gaze.

    "I'll take them," Kayan stated. He bowed to the shopkeeper and left with a flourish.

    "You're welcome, Prince," the shopkeeper murmured as the door swung closed.

    53. Accounting

    "Do you prefer to invest in lakeside tourism or protection of native flora?"

    Kayan gave an exasperated sigh and fell back into the satin couch cushions. "I thought that's why I had you--so I didn't have to deal with this kind of thing."

    "Very well," the advisor replied. "I wouldn't want you to strain yourself, I'm sure you had a rough day in town."

    Kayan's eyes narrowed. His advisor's tone was delicately neutral, but he thought he saw the older man's eyes drift suspiciously toward Kayan's feet--and his new boots--as he spoke.

    "I'll leave you to rest."

    54. Management

    "Wait," Kayan called, sitting up on the couch. "There is one financial matter I need to discuss with you."

    His advisor seemed to perk up at that.

    "I need you to find a new feed provider for Rose," Kayan continued. "I found purple weeds in her hay this morning."

    "I'm sure it's harmless."

    "Harmless or not, I did not pay for purple weeds, I paid for hay. Besides, Rose has a very sensitive system. I don't want to test it."

    The advisor was silent for a moment, and Kayan could practically see his mind parsing through a litany of responses.

    55. Temp

    Eventually, he settled for, "You know, if you showed ever a fraction of the consideration for a woman as you do for that horse , you'd be happily married with a houseful of children by now."

    "I'm a simple man," Kayan replied. "I have only one requirement for my future wife: that she own a starship that can take us far away from here."

    "You're impossible," Kayan's advisor muttered as he left the room.

    Kayan shrugged and settled back. "I know you have the technology hidden away somewhere. The more you deny it, the greater my temptation to find it."
  19. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    At one point, all the drabbles in set 12 were supposed to be part of the same story. But I ran out of words and the themes seriously tripped me up, so it's probably best to think of them as three unrelated storylines for the time being. I may try to tie them together with some later drabbles, for now I just want to get caught up.

    I had a much eaiser time with set 13, which is a follow-up to week 8.

    Week 12: Breaking Point

    56. Terrorists

    Jai. Syke. Blue. Callista was done with loose cannons. She was going back to her first instinct. Someone she knew was solid. Even if it meant begging.

    The ramp of the Star Lady was down and Callista invited herself inside. She found Fen in the main living area, playing sabaac with two other people.

    "I need your help," Callista said, interrupting the game.

    The others turned suddenly toward the new voice, but Fen looked up from her cards slowly. "How unfortunate for you."

    "Please, Fen. I've figured things out now. I haven't lost a slave in the last three missions."

    57. Deadline

    Callista wasn't lying. She just didn't mention how the last mission was a whole different breed of disaster.

    "I hear you found plenty of other mercs. Ask one of them," Fen suggested bitterly.

    "I need you, Fen. You and your ship. Now. The Desert Festival is coming up. It'll be a perfect distraction but I need to move soon or I'll miss it."

    "You really know what you're doing this time?" Fen asked cautiously.

    Callista nodded. "I have a plan. I promise what happened last time won't happen again."

    Fen considered for a moment, then asked, "What are you paying?"


    58. Jack

    I wish she knew my name.

    It had started as an idle thought that struck him during the last mission. Callista was explaining the plan to them and she had looked directly towards him. She looked at him like everyone did--like she was looking at a stormtrooper. Despite the fact that he wasn't wearing armor, she didn't see him, only his uniform.

    But what started as a fleeting notion had since hijacked his thinking, turning into a near obsession.

    He didn't know why now or why Callista. But suddenly he longed for an identity, something more than simply "stormtrooper."


    59. Defiant

    It defied her comprehension.

    Pink skin, purple scars. Callista would recognize her anywhere.

    The first slave she'd ever rescued. Here, on Tatooine. Enslaved once again.

    All her effort had not made one bit of difference. Not even to those few slaves she'd freed. Or thought she'd freed.

    Eventually she had accepted that she'd set her sights too high, that she would never end the slave trade completely. But now, to know she had accomplished nothing--despite the hours wasted, despite the friends lost and damaged, despite the blood spilled--nothing, was more than she could take.

    Something inside Callista snapped.

    60. 24

    "For twenty-four days I was free. Then I volunteered, again. I returned so someone else didn't have to."

    She speaks Basic, but might as well speak Ryl for the sense the words make to Callista.

    Callista's mind is trapped in a darker place--Ryloth, with the clan leaders who sell their people into slavery. She contemplates how it would feel to let out her frustration on such deserving individuals. To channel her anger, to let it fuel her wrath.

    For a moment she doesn't even blame Anakin. She sees with blinding clarity why he fell. She longs to join him.

    Week 13: Weapons Expo

    61. Enterprise

    “The Enterprise 707, the most powerful laser canon ever built.” Han read the plaque below the gold-plated weapon.

    Mara scoffed.

    Han raised an eyebrow at her. “I suppose you’re going to tell me it’s not that powerful? That you’ve fired an even bigger laser cannon?”

    Mara looked at Han levelly. “Actually, I was just noticing Lando,” she replied gesturing as a man in a purple cape made his way through the maze of displays toward them. “And wondering if Luke and Leia really believe we’ll kill each other if left alone.”

    “Oh,” Han replied, turning to greet his old friend.

    62. Galaxy

    “The most enchanting woman in the galaxy,” Lando declared, taking a dramatic bow as he kissed Mara’s hand.

    “Give it a rest,” Mara growled.

    “Hey, that’s my sister-in-law you’re talking to, pal,” Han said.

    “Alright, take it easy. Can’t a man give a compliment to a lady anymore?” Lando straightened. “Now what are we going to see first?”

    “Did Luke and Leia send you?”

    “I wouldn’t say they sent me. But who am I to turn down free tickets to—where are we again?”

    Mara rolled her eyes. Han sighed and clapped Lando on the back. “Come on, this way.”

    63. Federation

    Mara glanced at her chrono. For nearly an hour, Lando had been speaking intently with a man running a repurposed battledroid manufacturing plant.

    Bored, Mara asked Han, “Think he’ll invest?”

    Ignoring the question, Han gestured behind Mara. “Doesn’t that kid look awfully young to be at a weapons expo?”

    Mara glanced over her shoulder, but before she replied Han cut in snidely, “Forget it. I’m sure you’d killed people by that age.”

    Mara spun to face Han again. “Alright, Solo, what’s with the attitude?”

    When Han didn’t reply, she added darkly, “Maybe it’s good they sent Lando along after all.”

    64. Next

    “Sorry,” Han replied, sounding slightly more sincere than Mara would have expected. “It’s a reflex.”

    Mara gave a bemused smile. “I guess I can understand that,” she said, feeling oddly diplomatic.

    “It’s not even you I’m upset with,” he added.

    “Then who is it?”

    “It’s not that I’m upset with Luke, it’s just . . . he’s been pressuring us to send Anakin to train full time at the Academy. I think it’s too soon. I know you—”

    “Stop,” Mara interrupted. “I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone. Kids should have a chance to be kids.”

    “Tell that to Luke.”

    “I will.”

    65. Generation


    “Of course. If you’re this worried about it, you need to talk to Luke,” Mara said.

    “Believe me, I’ve tried. But you’re a lot more likely to change his mind.”

    “Hang on a minute. I never said Luke was wrong. I just said you two need to talk about it.”

    “Right,” Han replied. “He usually defers to me for all his Jedi decisions.”

    “I’ll tell you what,” Mara said, looking Han straight in the eye, “You talk to him. But I’ll see what I can do to make him a little more receptive to the idea.”

    “Thank you, Mara.”
  20. FelsGoddess

    FelsGoddess Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 5, 2004
    Accounting That's one passive-aggressive assistant.

    Defiant That's just awful that he was captured again. :(

    Callista?s mind is trapped in a darker place?Ryloth, with the clan leaders who sell their people into slavery. She contemplates how it would feel to let out her frustration on such deserving individuals. To channel her anger, to let it fuel her wrath.

    For a moment she doesn?t even blame Anakin. She sees with blinding clarity why he fell. She longs to join him.

    Interesting and enlightening look into her internal struggle.


    Next and Generation Interesting look at Mara and Han's relationship. It makes sense that she would want kids to enjoy their childhood.

  21. Maggy

    Maggy Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 2, 2004
    Week 9: Allies and Enemies

    Apparently the Rebellion and the Empire taught similar techniques for hand-to-hand combat.


    Week 10: Kayan

    he seems to be a very interesting character :D

    Week 11: Kayan II

    LOL funny guy he is XD

    Week 12: Breaking Point

    Callista is really determined 8-}

    Week 13: Weapons Expo

    ?The Enterprise 707, the most powerful laser canon ever built.? Han read the plaque below the gold-plated weapon.


    Great work :D =D=
  22. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Thanks so much for commenting! :)

    I'm glad you like Kayan - I've never actually written him before and I'm afraid he's not coming off quite how I intend him to. Thanks for commenting, I really appreciate it! :)

    Author Note: The characters I have been using have decided they just don't want to play anymore, so after #66. Psychic (a follow-up to drabble #55) I'm switching to a completely different alternate universe. Warning: There may be minor spoilers for my story Worth Fighting For.

    Week 14

    66. Psychic

    He doesn't know, Kayan's advisor, Leonn, tried to reassure himself. He can't know. He might hope. He might suspect. But he can't be certain. He doesn't have proof. Only a few know, and none of them have told him. He can't know.

    It's not like he's psychic.

    Unless . . . Leonn shook his head. No, of course not. It was absurd, yet . . . there were such rumors about his father. Rumors that he could do things, all sorts of things that were utterly impossible. Was it possible Kayan had inherited some sort of special abilities from his father?

    Nonsense. Kayan does not know.


    67. Detective

    Luke didn't say a word to Callista when he returned, but she could tell he was seething. He went straight to the bedroom and closed the door. Benji followed Luke in the door, staring at the ground, close to tears. It didn't take a detective to know things hadn't gone well.

    Callista pulled Benji into a hug. "It's okay. Something will work out."

    Benji didn't respond.

    "If nothing else, I'll train you myself."

    Benji looked up hopefully. "Really?"

    "Certainly. We can start tomorrow."

    Then Benji's face fell. "But what will Dad say?"

    "Don't worry about that. I'll handle your father."

    68. Fraud

    "Uncle Han, what's a fraud?"

    "A fraud is a liar--a person who pretends to be something they aren't. Why?"

    Benji's lower lip began to tremble and Han cursed himself for not thinking before he spoke. "I never said I was anything," Benji murmured as tears filled his eyes.

    "Did someone call you a fraud? Who?" Han demanded, fingering his blaster.

    Benji just stared at the table. Han looked at his nephew, then removed his hand from his blaster, placing it on Benji's shoulder. "You're not a fraud. You're my nephew and that's all you ever need to be."

    69. Awareness

    "Luke told me, he swore, it wouldn't matter to him if our children weren't Jedi."

    "And you think it does matter?" Leia asked carefully.

    Callista sighed as she looked up at Leia. "He expects Benji to be at least as powerful as himself."

    "Maybe one day he will be." Leia regretted the words as soon as they were out of her mouth. She'd been reaching for something to comfort Callista, but she could tell from her sister-in-law's expression that she had only shown she didn't understand.

    "That's not the point."

    "I know," Leia replied softly, wishing she could reassure Callista.

    70. Pharmaceutical

    "I don't want your pharms!" Dankin yelled as he threw the bottle at the older smuggler, sending white pills scattering.

    "Then quit your screaming and crying, some of us are trying to get some sleep!" The smuggler left, slamming the door shut.

    The last thing Dankin wanted was sedatives. They may have made him quieter, but that's because he fell deeper into sleep, where the dreams were even more vivid.

    "Hey," Odonnl called from across the room. "Sleeping's overrated. Why don't we see what's happening on the Holonet?"

    "Okay," Dankin replied, relieved for a way to stave off the nightmares.

    Week 15 (UDC3 Week 3)

    71. Truth

    “We’re stuck with Benji again?” Zekk grumbled under his breath.

    “Oh, come on, he’s not that bad,” Jaina chided. “He is a Skywalker, after all.”

    “Where are you going?” Jacen asked Tenal Ka. “We’ll take the short cut.”

    Tenal Ka looked meaningfully at Benji. “We should take the easier route.”

    “What do you say, Benji? Think you can keep up with us?” Jacen asked his much younger cousin.

    “Yeah!” Benji replied.

    Zekk and Tenal Ka exchanged a look, but the others raced ahead.

    Three hours later, cradling Benji’s injured form in his arms, Zekk murmured, “Do you believe me now?”

    72. Trust

    “Where is he?” Callista demanded leaping off the ramp of the Millennium Falcon before it had settled onto the landing pad.

    “This way.” Jaina lead her to the medical bay.

    Benji was asleep. Callista knelt beside him for a few minutes before Luke appeared. He had barely taken two steps into the room before Callista was on him. “You pushed him too hard.” Callista’s eyes blazed as she looked at Luke.

    Luke took half a step back. His mouth opened but he said nothing. There was only one being in the galaxy who could elicit that response from Luke Skywalker.

    73. Honor

    “Can’t someone else handle this?”

    Luke’s expression answered the question.

    “Then I’ll go with you. Han and Leia can watch Benji.”

    For a moment Luke’s eyes lit up. But they were soon cast in even deeper shadow. “I don’t know.”

    Callista knew she couldn’t go. If she went, she would be a distraction—since Luke couldn’t sense her through the Force, he would constantly be looking to see that she was alright.

    She cursed the galaxy for making her choose between her husband and her son. She cursed it more for making Luke choose between his duty and his family.

    74. Loyalty

    Everyone at the company respected Mara, but many found her abrasive. Dankin, though, saw only strength. He had never seen himself as strong, but Mara! She seemed to radiate strength, so much that he found her presence to be intoxicating.

    It was not a crush—Dankin had always known things like romance and marriage were not in his future. He loved Mara, maybe he was even in love with her, but he did not pursue her. Instead he pledged his unending loyalty to her. And he hoped that in exchange she would share her strength, simply by being near him.

    75. Love

    Luke set his hand on Callista’s swollen stomach as he leaned in for a kiss. “How’s Ben today?”

    “He’s fine,” Callista replied slowly.

    “Is something wrong?” Luke asked.

    “Well... I’ve been thinking about that name.”

    “Ben? But we agreed—”

    “I know. But... what about Benji? Anakin suggested it. It will still be inspired by Master Kenobi, just a little different.”

    “Benji,” Luke turned the name over in his mouth. As he did, he felt a little kick against his hand, still resting on Callista’s belly. Luke grinned at the contact. “Well, I guess that settles it. Benji it is.”
  23. FelsGoddess

    FelsGoddess Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 5, 2004
    Benji just stared at the table. Han looked at his nephew, then removed his hand from his blaster, placing it on Benji?s shoulder. ?You?re not a fraud. You?re my nephew and that?s all you ever need to be.?
    Love seeing Uncle Han. Poor Benji. :(

    She cursed the galaxy for making her choose between her husband and her son. She cursed it more for making Luke choose between his duty and his family.
    That would be impossible, to choose between husband and son. :(

    Love Aww

    Great drabbles.

  24. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    FelsGoddess - Seems like you don't see much of Uncle Han, though I think it's an interesting side to him. Thanks for reading!

    [hl=skyblue]Week 16

    76. Ranger[/hl]

    Dankin felt like a ranger on patrol as he walked the pair of vornskrs around the outskirts of the forest. The less impressive truth was that he was taking his boss's pets to relieve themselves before bed.

    He looked up at the light pouring out a lone window as he passed the south barracks. That's where they were keeping the prisoner.

    Dankin felt a shiver run down his back as he turned away, tugging on the leashes. Since when was Karrde in the business of taking prisoners? It was not Dankin's place to question, but still, he didn't like it.

    [hl=skyblue]77. Cavalier[/hl]

    Mara appeared in a shimmering purple and black dress, straps crisscrossing all across her back. Aves took in her appearance for several seconds.

    "You know, it's considered gentlemanly to at least occasionally glance at your date above the neckline," Mara remarked dryly.

    Aves met her eyes and grinned. "It's all so form-fitting. I'm just trying to imagine where you keep the arsenal."

    "Blaster strapped to her thigh. And I could only squeeze two vibroblades into the false-bottom of this," Dankin said, handing Mara a black clutch.

    "At least I'll be able to sharpen them if this reception gets too boring."

    [hl=skyblue]78. Thief[/hl]

    They were coming to get him. Benji screamed, but nobody heard. Nobody, but the man with thick black gloves that grabbed him by the arm and dragged him away.

    Benji's eyes snapped open. The room was quiet, save his own ragged breathing. He was alone, the man a half-remembered dream. Something was missing though, as Benji felt under the covers. He sat up, panic rising within him. Then he noticed a spot on the floor, not quite as dark as the surrounding carpet. Reaching, he felt the familiar soft fur of his stuffed whisperkit.

    He sighed easily, no longer afraid.

    [hl=skyblue]79. Acrobat[/hl]

    Dankin's simulator scores had been fairly unimpressive and Karrde had only reluctantly allowed him to take the real-life test. But as Dankin swung the bulky freighter tightly around the lone asteroid marking the edge of the course, Odonnl knew his friend was well on his way to a promotion.

    Stang, Odonnl thought, I feel like I'm in a starfighter. The kid's a better pilot than I am.

    "Good, Dankin. Very good." Karrde's face was impassive, but Odonnl could just detect the surprise in his voice.

    "Did I do okay?" Dankin whispered.

    "You did just fine," Odonnl said with a smile.

    [hl=skyblue]80. Barbarian[/hl]

    Their eyes were locked, fiery green versus cool blue.

    Dankin glanced nervously from Mara to the prisoner, wondering what he would do when the fight broke out. Mostly he'd get the Kessel out of the way.

    They were just supposed to be dropping off a meal for the prisoner. Yet despite Karrde's insistence that they were "smugglers, not barbarians," things seemed on the brink of becoming decidedly uncivilized.

    Finally, the prisoner broke his stare from Mara. His eyes swept the room, settling on Dankin. Or rather, the tray in front of Dankin. "Is that food for me?" he asked calmly.
  25. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    [hl=darkblue]Week 17

    81. Boys[/hl]

    Anakin, dozing in a chair, sensed when Benji awoke. His aunt and uncle were sound asleep for the first time in days, so Anakin quietly picked up his new cousin.

    “Hi, Benji. I’m Anakin, your cousin.” Anakin spoke softly, hoping to soothe the baby back to sleep.

    “I hope you like your name. It was going to be Ben, like your dad’s master. But I thought they should give you something a little different. I’m named after our grandfather, and sometimes... it’s hard. I wanted to spare you that.”

    Anakin smiled. The soothing words had worked, Benji was fast asleep.


    [hl=darkblue]82. Mountain[/hl]

    Aves was carrying the map, the compass, and the camera, leaving Odonnl with virtually no responsibilities for the moment. He decided to take advantage of situation. He paused to simply enjoy the world around him. Trees and other plants surrounded him in a canvas with more shades of green than he knew existed.

    He breathed deeply of the crisp mountain air. There were many different scents twisting together, like in the city. But unlike the city, all of them were pleasant. He wondered where the smells came from—trees and flowers, certainly. The soil perhaps? Did rocks have a scent?

    [hl=darkblue]83. Town[/hl]

    Odonnl thought about asking Aves about the rocks, but didn’t want to seem ignorant. Instead he looked to little Dankin, who was staring upward, as he often did. Studying the clouds and the seemingly infinite blue sky. And, Odonnl could tell, trying to catch a glimpse of the sun out of the corner of his eye. Dankin had been warned against looking directly into a sun, but he was fascinated by the giant light that never went out, so bright and powerful, generously providing heat to millions. A shocking contrast to the cold, dark ceiling of ferrocrete he was used to.


    [hl=darkblue]84. Controversy[/hl]

    “I was invited to Luke Skywalker’s wedding, and I know you were too,” Karrde said to Mara.

    “Yeah. So?”

    “I was wondering if you wanted to go together or if you had already made arrangements with Aves.”

    “I’m not going. Aves is all yours.”

    “That’s not exactly what I meant.”

    “You know me, I’m always up for a party,” Aves interjected. “But I think you might be able to find someone a little more suited to you, Chief.”

    “Oh? Who?”

    “I don’t know. Someone tall and dark perhaps. Maybe a bodyguard of some kind?”

    “Shada? You think she would agree?”

    [hl=darkblue]85. Profanity[/hl]

    “Why do you assume I’d be going with Aves anyway?” Mara growled.

    “Well, Corran’s probably going with his wife...” Dankin mused. Mara flashed him a withering glare.

    “I just can’t imagine you getting Dankin or Ghent into a suit,” Karrde added, with a furtive smile.

    Mara spat something in an unfamiliar language.

    “I think you’re very lucky I don’t speak Huttese,” Karrde said warningly. Mara turned and left, a final growl in her throat.

    “Hrmph.” An annoyed sound came from across the room.

    Everyone looked to Odonnl. “What am I, invisible? All that and no one even mentions my name?”

    [hl=purple]Week 18: Cy’een

    86. Steed

    “Arch your back, Luke. And keep your legs under you—your ankles should be directly below your hips.”

    Luke tried to breathe deeply and follow Callista’s advice. Back. Legs. Ankle—

    Luke inhaled sharply and clutched at slippery scales as the beast beneath him suddenly spun to the left. Once the movement slowed enough for Luke to breathe again, he realized he had curled forward and his legs had swung out behind him.

    “Exactly the opposite of that,” Callista giggled. Luke felt his muscles relax at the sound of her laughter and a smile spread across his face despite his discomfort.

    [hl=purple]87. Peel[/hl]

    “Also, quit staring at her horns, they aren’t going to fall off.”

    “But I have to stare at her horns,” Luke replied.

    Another giggle. “Why?”

    With an effort, Luke was able to peel his eyes from the cy’een’s horns and look at Callista, who was resting casually atop another of the bronze-scaled reptiles nearby.

    “Because if I don’t focus on her horns, then I’ll notice this enormous body of open water I could fall into at any moment.”

    “I’ll never understand how you can be so afraid of a little water,” Callista remarked.

    “And I’ll never understand how you aren’t.”

    [hl=purple]88. Gale[/hl]

    A sudden gust of wind picked up and Callista felt the cy’een tense beneath her. “Easy,” Callista soothed. As she stroked the animal’s neck its scales were hard as rock beneath her fingers. This was going to be bad.

    “Hang on, Luke!” she managed to get out before her cy’een rose out of the water and leapt forward. It twisted in the air before crashing into the water again. Callista lost her grip and went tumbling. By the time she resurfaced the cy’een she’d been riding was twenty meters away, leaping in and out of the water at full speed.

    [hl=purple]89. Stylish[/hl]

    Luke never stood a chance. He didn’t even know what happened, just suddenly the cy’een was no longer between him and the water. He was treading water when he saw Callista fall. He had exactly six seconds of panic before she resurfaced with a grin on her face.

    “Do I get extra points for style on that dismount?” she asked.

    “Only if I get extra points for hitting the water first,” he replied.

    Callista swam over and wrapped her arms around Luke. “I guess that makes it a tie,” she said as she nuzzled his neck.

    “I guess it does.”

    [hl=purple]90. Needed[/hl]

    Luke and Callista were stretched out together on top of the small raft they had taken to find the herd, gently floating with the current and soaking up the last rays of the sun.

    “Hey, Callie.”

    Callista lifted her head from Luke’s shoulder to look him in the face. “Yes?”

    “I thought you were supposed to be good at this.”

    “I am good.” She gave a sly smile. “Nobody rides a cy’een for very long.”

    “Oh,” Luke replied. “You couldn’t have mentioned that before we started?”

    Callista shrugged as she set her head back on his shoulder. “Didn’t seem necessary.”