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Saga Snippets - Short Story and Flash-Fiction Collection - New Story 29/4 - THE CLIMB

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by gaarastar58, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Hi all, welcome to my collection of short stories, flash-fiction and one-shots. Most are based around the theme of family and relationships and include many different characters such as Luke, Obi-Wan, Boba Fett, Shmi, Beru and many more! New stories will be added periodically, for my longer works check out the links in my signature and please feel free to add any feedback and ideas for improvement.

    Latest Story: The Climb: Following the death of Tivik on the Ring of Kafrene, Cassian climbs to safety.

    Title: Watch Over Me
    Era: Saga, pre-PT
    Characters: Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan
    Description: A moment of reflective contemplation for Qui-Gon when Obi-Wan is hurt in an accident. Obi-Wan is 12.

    Title: The Father
    Era: Saga, pre-PT
    Characters: Jango, Boba, Taun We
    Description: Jango meets his son for the first time.

    Title: The Sad Birthday
    Era: Saga, PT
    Characters: Shmi Skywalker
    Description: Shmi is alone on Anakin’s birthday.

    Title: Homecoming
    Era: Saga, PT
    Characters: Boba, Taun We
    Description: Boba makes it back to Kamino after the battle of Geonosis.

    Tite: Death of a Star Destroyer
    Era: Saga - Post ROTJ
    Characters: OC's
    Description: A lone star destroyer and her crew struggle for survival following the battle of Endor.

    Tite: The Storm
    Era: Saga - Pre ANH
    Characters: Beru & Owen Lars, Luke
    Description: Beru takes care of a sick Luke during a sandstorm.

    Title: Empire Day
    Era: Beyond - Post Jedi Academy Trilogy
    Characters: Luke & Mara
    Description: It's Empire Day and Mara is troubled by her past.

    Title: The Climb
    Era: Rogue One
    Characters: Cassian Andor
    Description: Following the death of Tivik on the Ring og Kafrene, Cassian climbs to safety.
    Title: Knightfall
    Era: Saga, ROTS
    Characters: Kai (OC), Katooni, Jesse, Anakin/Vader, Petro, clones
    Description: The brutal assault on the Jedi temple seen from two different perspectives.

    Title: The Broken Boy and the Blind Master
    Era: Saga, PT
    Characters: Anakin, Yoda, Master Forgo (OC), Obi-Wan
    Description: Anakin’s life changes when an accident in an illegal podrace results in a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralysed (AU).

    Title: Weak Link
    Era: Saga, TCW
    Characters: Fives, Dropkick (OC), Shaak Ti, Admiral Tarkin, Rex
    Description: While on temporary assignment on Kamino, ARC trooper Fives meets a young clone injured on a training exercise who has been scheduled to be terminated. Now he must fight on an unfamiliar battlefield and against his own brothers to save the boy’s life.

    Title: A Cold Day on the Pike
    Era: Before, KOTOR
    Characters: OC’s
    Description: Tok’s quiet exile is disturbed by the arrival of a group of hunters in search of vengeance.


    This is a really short scene with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, set a few years before PT. Obi-Wan is about 12.

    Watch Over Me

    The dim lights if the infirmary cubicle cut Qui-Gon's face with jagged shadows as he stared down at the bed and the boy lying between the sheets. He smiled in a fatherly way, stretching out his senses to comfort his Padawan.

    Obi-Wan stirred in his sleep and groaned, wrinkling his nose. His leg was wrapped in a heavy bandage and splinted. Bacta patches covered minor cuts and scratches. Qui-Gon felt his pain and wished he could take it away.

    The broken leg would heal. Soon enough Obi-Wan would be back to his normal energetic self, but for right now Qui-Gon was still feeling the tendrils of irrational worry from the moment his apprentice lost his footing on the treacherous mountain trail. The fear he had felt as he watched Obi-Wan fall, partly the boy’s wild panic and his own dread of a serious injury, still squirmed inside of him.

    Obi-Wan winced as another spike of pain shot up his leg. Qui-Gon slid into the seat next to the bed and took the boy’s hand, rubbing some warmth back into his cold fingers.

    ‘It’s alright, I’m here,’ he said in a low voice.

    Obi-Wan's head twitched in his direction and his eyes cracked open. ‘Master?’

    Qui-Gon smiled. ‘Hello sleepyhead.’

    ‘My leg hurts.’

    ‘You had a fall.’ Qui-Gon grinned. ‘It was rather spectacular.’

    Obi-Wan tried to laugh but it developed into a cough and Qui-Gon felt another lance of pain through the Force. ‘Try and get some sleep.’

    Reaching over he laid a hand on the boy’s head, using the Force to clear his mind of the aches and itchiness in his leg. Obi-Wan's eyes fluttered closed and his chest began to rise and fall with the regular rhythm of sleep. He ran a hand through the boy’s stubbly hair, listening to the sigh of his breath.

    ‘I’ll be here when you wake up,’ he said. ‘I’ll always be here for you.’
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, marvelous and sweetly truly in character. [face_love] :D
  3. KELIA

    KELIA Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 26, 2005
    Awwww….that was so very sweet.

    Love seeing the strong bond between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan

    Great job on this

  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Nicely written, with some great word choices here. A sweet look at their relationship.
  5. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    Brilliant mix of fatherly concern and gentle teasing. Well done. =D=
  6. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Awww.... I really like this bit of comfort from Qui-Gon, it shows how much he truly cares for Obi-wan.
    Poor Obi-wan, that had to be painful! :(

    Thank you for sharing this with us!
  7. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Thanks for all the feedback guys, it was nice to explore the relationship between two characters and do it in as few a words as possible, my writing has a tendency to go on and on sometimes and I wanted to keep it tight! It was nice to look at a bond hinted at in the films but not really expanded on that much. Thanks for reading :)
    AzureAngel2 and Ewok Poet like this.
  8. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Hi guys, here's another wee scene focusing on relationships:

    The Father

    Jango Fett paced the wide corridor outside Tipoca City’s primary birthing chamber. Despite his fearsome reputation few would have recognised the bounty hunter without his signature Mandalorian armour and helmet. At the moment he wore an old loose-fitting shirt and he fiddled with the frayed end of one sleeve, trying to master his impatience and fear.

    Crossing to the wide viewport he looked out at the vast hatchery. Thousands of pods containing clone embryos filled the space, each grown from the building blocks of Jango's genetic code. It still awed him, knowing that one day an army would sweep across the galaxy, all wearing his face. It was an impressive legacy, but right now Jango wasn’t concerned with the army he was helping to build.

    The door to the birthing chamber slid open and the graceful form of Taun We stepped into the corridor, her huge eyes blinking down at Jango. Her long neck swayed in a rhythm which Jango had come to recognise in her species as joy.

    ‘He’s ready.’

    Jango felt his heart pounding in his ears as he stepped into the dimly lit birthing chamber. The low light was easier on the eyes of a new born clone. He stepped up to the cot and looked down at the tiny form swathed in a blanket. The baby's lips were pursed, his eyes shut. Jango leaned in, listening to the child's snuffly breathing.

    ‘Would you like to hold him?’ said Taun We over his shoulder.

    Jango’ heart rate doubled in speed. His hands, used to holding blasters and vibroblades, shook.

    ‘I don’t know how.’

    Taun We scooped up the bundle, supporting the baby’s head with her broad three-fingered hand and settled him into the crook of Jango’s arm. Little fingers opened and closed as the baby yawned. He was so small that Jango could’ve held him in the palm of one hand, but the squirming form froze him in place. He was scared of moving in case he somehow hurt the child. He seemed so small and fragile.

    Taun We placed a hand on his arm and showed him how to rock the baby. He snuggled against Jango's body. The most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy gazed down at his son and the face which never smiled cracked into a lopsided grin.

    ‘Hello Boba.’
  9. KELIA

    KELIA Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 26, 2005

    I’ve never thought I’d see such a sweet and tender momemt with Jango Fett and that was just beautiful

    Loved it

    AzureAngel2 and gaarastar58 like this.
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014

    I've been reading this thread since you started posting, but I'm late on reviewing. Catching up now...

    I loved your Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan story -- I unashamedly admit to have a soft spot for stories where young Obi-Wan gets hurt and we get to see his bond with Qui-Gon in all its glory, and you managed that really well here -- but the story that stole my heart was Jango/Boba.

    First of all I hardly ever read any Jango stories, and those I did had to do with his life and adventures as a bounty hunter. I particularly appreciated in this story that he reflects on the fact that he is the building block for an army. The fact that he doesn't appear to know what the army will be used for precisely was a nice touch.

    I also liked the tidbit about Kaminoan body language.

    The end was incredibly touching, especially the "I don't know how" line. Possibly the only time Jango Fett ever said that :)

    I've got several more of your stories on my reading list, and I'm hoping to get to them in the not-too-distant future.
  11. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Yeah I always felt that we mostly get only the "cool" stuff about Jango and Boba and not much about them as people. The only thing that came close was Boba's first arc in CW. I thought that hurting young Obi-Wan would give me a chance to explore the paternal side of Qui-Gon. I didn't like seeing the PT Jedi as these horribly restrained cardboard cut-outs who reject emotion.

    The "I don't know how" part was the bit that inspired me to write this scene. I remember the first time holding a baby when I began working as a sick-kids nurse and being terrified and I wanted to know how such an outwardly strong character would react. I wanted to show Jango's vulnerability.

    Let me know what you think of my other stories, it's always nice to hear feedback!
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Chyntuck like this.
  12. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    The Sad Birthday

    Shmi Skywalker hunched her shoulders and stooped beneath the low door to her home. The door slid back into place, shutting out the howl of the sandstorm. She unwound the scarf that she’d been using to protect her face and shook out her heavy sandcloak. Her back ached from a day spent stooped over moisture vaporators, cleaning out their intricate filtering systems with a fine brush. She tried rubbing some warmth into her calloused fingers, letting out a low moan as the stiff joints flashed with pain.

    Moving into the kitchen, she poured herself a cup of water. The liquid looked brown and had flecks of rust in it but she was used to that and downed the contents. Setting the cup back on the side she sat down, trying to ignore the sound of the storm battering at the shutters. She was reminded of another sandstorm. Two years ago it had blown through Mos Espa, bringing with it a stranded Jedi Master, and when the storm had lifted her son, her precious boy, had been taken away. Often she returned home from work expecting to find the kitchen table strewn with parts for Anakin’s podracer or some other equally wild project he was working on, or hear him and Kitster playing in his room.

    Sometimes Shmi caught herself laying two places at the table, reaching up to the shelf to get down Anakin’s favourite cup, or calling to him that dinner would be ready soon. She had prepared something to eat and carefully packaged it this morning, knowing that after a day of hard work she wouldn’t be up to making something from scratch, but now she didn’t fancy anything. Not today.

    She had learned to protect herself from the grief which yawned in the pit of her stomach, focussing on her work in the junkyard or on cleaning the house. She had known that letting Anakin go would hurt, but she had thought the pain would lessen with time. Now, almost two years later it was a keen as ever. She tried to tell herself that she had been given nine years of happiness with him. She told herself that she had let him go because it was the best thing for him but there were many nights when she wished that she could hold him again just one more time, that she could run her hands through is hair, feel his warmth.

    Don’t look back.

    Those words haunted her. If she had known then how much she would miss him, would she have given him up? Could she have lived with herself if she denied Anakin his freedom? Such were the thoughts which crashed around inside her every day since he had left, stomping off behind Qui-Gon Jinn into the unknown. On clear nights she would look up into the sky and wonder what her son was doing, whether he was safe and warm, if he had friends and a place to call home. Sometimes she thought she could feel him out there, far far away, and she would reach out and try to let him know that she was still here, that she still loved him.

    Anakin’s room was just as he had left it. Tools and pieces of broken machinery hung on the wall. His home-made starfighter mobile dangled above his bed. In the corner his prize creation, the droid C-3PO, sat covered with a thick dust blanket. He had been built to help Shmi with the housework but she couldn’t afford to keep him powered up all the time, plus his constant ramblings got on her nerves.

    When Anakin’s tenth birthday had come there had been a moment when Shmi had thought she couldn’t bear her grief any longer and she had contemplated simply walking off into the desert, knowing that if she got far enough away her slave implant would activate and the suffering would end. At least it would be quick. Anakin had been so excited about turning ten. There was something in all kids that got excited about reaching double figures. Today he turned eleven.

    In the past, when Anakin was little, he would crawl into bed with her, snuggling in to give her a cuddle. Now she wrapped her arms around herself, feeling the gaping hole deep inside that could never be filled, no matter how much she tried to convince herself that she had done the right thing letting her son go.

    ‘Happy Birthday Anakin.’
  13. Cleo Jinn

    Cleo Jinn Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 7, 2015
    Very well done.
    The feelings are so real, I felt like I was with her, right beside her as she felt the loss again and again.
    You brought tears to my eyes, which is a rarity.
    Well done :)
    AzureAngel2 and gaarastar58 like this.
  14. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010

    Rain hissed and spat, leaping up from the deck of Tipoca City into Boba’s eyes. He dragged a sleeve across his face. His curly mop of hair was plastered to his forehead, droplets of water running down his cheeks like cold tears. Looming behind him in the darkness, the bulky shape of Slave 1 steamed in the downpour.

    He dragged his booted feet across the deck towards the light spilling from and open hatch. He carried a sack in his arms, clutched tightly to his chest. With each step the bundle seemed to grow heavier. Standing in the open hatch, the figure of Taun We materialised through the driving rain. Her enormous eyes blinked with surprise as she watched the small boy approach.

    ‘Come in out of the rain Boba,’ she said in her musical voice.

    The boy stood for a moment staring up at her, water still cascading down his face. His blue uniform was soaked, sticking to his small frame. The sleeves were torn and muddy from digging in the dry dirt of Geonosis and his hands were scratched and bloody. Two of his nails were cracked. The Kaminoan held out a three-fingered and drew him inside. He offered no resistance. He simply stood in a pool of water, blinking in the bright corridor lights.

    ‘Are you hurt?’

    The concern in her voice stung him, although he wasn’t sure why. ‘No.’

    ‘Where’s…’ Taun We’s voice trailed off. She looked past the boy to the hulking presence of Slave 1.

    Boba sniffed and held out the bundle he’d been carrying. Taun We took it and he could tell from the expression of shocked disbelief on her normally passive face that she knew what was inside. Boba had never had a mother. He had never needed one. But the graceful Kaminoan had been the closest thing he had to family. Some of his earliest memories were of Taun We taking care of him while his father was away, swaddling him up in blankets and giving him cups of hot tea on cold nights.

    ‘I didn’t know where else to go.’

    He looked up at her, his normally stubborn expression scrunching up as the tears he had held back prickled at the back of his eyes. He hadn’t cried yet, not as he watched his father die or when he dragged his body into the wastes of Geonosis to bury him. His legs buckled beneath him as the enormity of what had happened surged up and swept over him like one of the great waves crashing against Tipoca City’s support pylons.

    Taun We caught him before he hit the ground, displaying remarkable strength for such an elegant creature. He hung in her arms, unable to summon the energy to stand on his own feet. His father would be so ashamed to see him now, bawling his eyes out like a little baby. Taun We held him close and Boba wrapped his arms around her. Huge sobs shook his whole body. He heard, as if from far away, her voice in his ear and she stroked a three-fingered hand through his sopping hair.

    ‘It’s alright Boba. You’re home now. Come one inside and get dry.’
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    "Sad Birthday" - awwwww. So incredibly touching. Very natural and poignant emotions.

    "Homecoming" -- I am so glad she is there to give comfort! @};- =D=
    AzureAngel2 and gaarastar58 like this.
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    The Sad Birthday was just sooooo sad. You really captured all the little details that show how Shmi physically feels his absence :(

    And Homecoming... well, that wasn't any more cheerful. It was interesting to see Boba Fett as a child, with the weaknesses and the needs that entails. He has a shoulder to cry on, but that's about it.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  17. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Better review this since you have the habit of churning out a lot of good stuff in a short period of time and err, 5-6 of your other things are on my reading list. *shakes fist* WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO CREATIVE, HUH? [face_cow]

    Watch Over Me
    This is cute, but not in an over-the-top way. It reminds me of Kess Banta's short where Obi-Wan falls in water, not by content, but by the way you have described the kind of a bond Qui-Gon has with his Padawan. They were taken away from their families as children, yet the Master is a fatherly figure to Obi-Wan, almost some sort of a cool dad type. :)
    +1, basically.

    The Father
    For some reason, I got goosebumps and I never thought that a vignette with Jango Fett would give me goosebumps. Seeing him without his intimidating outfit and the helmet, with a torn sleeve on a loose-fitting shirt not only makes him more vulnerable - which opens the way to his metaphorical vulnerability quite nicely, but it also follows your recurring theme: it shows us the people behind the masks, the fact that they are real and that there is no black and white...or grey with hints of cobalt blue, in this case. Moreover, if he's dressed like that, he's not much different from actual expectant fathers. :)

    And it's always nice to see Taun We! The idea of a white, graceful, almost ghost-like alien holding a baby reminds me of so many sci-fi films with similarly pale and ethereal messianic figures; yet breaks the mold because the one they have high hopes for is on the other side of a story, as a harmless and sweet infant, further continuing the omnipresent theme of vulnerability.

    Sad Birthday
    Judging by the interior description, Shmi is still a slave, living in that house that already seemed empty in TPM, but is basically an endless void without Ani in it. :(

    For some reason, I expected her to activate Threepio to bring her some company. Not sure why. Of course, the scene is more poignant this way. Poor woman. Those who sacrifice themselves for the greater good(s), repeatedly, we tend to see them as noble and completely ignore their feelings. Nice to see this missing scene explored.

    P.S. Darude - Sandstorm.mp3 ;) // couldn't resist

    The last time we saw Boba at that very spaceport - if it can be even called that - he was this ballsy "Go get him, dad!" kid and now, he's broken. As if that was not enough, this story ties in nicely both with Sad Birthday for how clever you utilise weather to set the most fitting mood AND The Father, with Taun We's presence in another crucial moment of Boba Fett's life.

    Never thought of how Boba came back home before, but the idea of everybody else, a bunch of selfish and greedy types, leaving him on his own is completely believable.


    Overall, I love the ongoing exploration of family ties you have here, how these four pieces compliment, contrast and connect. After all, Star Wars is a story of families and family ties. =D=

    P.S. More Taun We, pretty please. I love the way you write her and I can...I can totally see a story never told before where she's helping Boba heal and raising him until it's the time for him to go and find his own path, write his own story.
  18. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    I tend to go through fits and bursts of creativeness, plus I am about to start a new job, so I will be doing less stuff for the next wee while.

    I never liked the PT attitude of rejecting all attachment and emotion. For me it always seemed like a plot-thing they just plucked out of the air to give Anakin an excuse to go dark and didn't make much sense to me. So yeah, I wanted to explore their relationship a bit more. To me Qui-Gon was probably the most important figure in Obi-Wan's life and they genuinely care about each other. I also thought this was a situation a lot of parents have been in at one point or another and I wanted to bring their relationship onto a more relateable level. Basically all my stories in this thread are aiming for that.

    I got inspiration for this from my first day on a ward being asked to take care of a little baby and I was sooooo nervous. He just seemed so tiny and fragile and I thought about how much more nervous someone like Jango, who is incredibly tough, would react to that fragility.

    Shmi and Anakin always seemed so close. I couldn't imagine how much it hurt her to let him go like she did. I remember reading a piece of lore on the Wook about Watto having disabled her slave tracking chip because he was worried she might wander off into the desert and blow herself up. I think people have this idea that parents get over the loss of a child (and this is a loss really) but that kind of pain never goes away.

    I always like to think "what happened afterwards". Sure, we know what happened to Boba in the long term but the last time we see him in the PT is just crouching there with his father's helmet. That's very dramatic and poignant, but what happened then? Did poor we Boba have to drag his father's decapitated corpse away and bury it somewhere? What must something like that do to a kid, no matter how tough he is? I loved writing Taun We. I guess I see her as Boba's surrogate mother in a lot of ways and able to provide a kind of emotional support that Jango probably wasn't able to do.

    Thanks for the feedback! I'm working on some more stories that tie in with the theme (a Lars family story is in progress). I would love to write some more Taun We & Boba pieces. Stop giving me ideas!!!
    AzureAngel2, Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  19. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Death of a Star Destroyer

    Orbiting a moon in an undesignated star system, far off the regular hyperspace routes, a six million tonne predator pointed her bow towards a sun too far away from any planetary mass to support life. She could have been the spearhead of some ancient god of war, scything her way across the stars. From a distance she appeared indomitable but a closer inspection would reveal the gashes in her hull, great rips left by massed turbolaser fire. The Imperial star destroyer Cold Flame was dying.
    Captain Ian Maar didn’t want to admit it. He had spent nearly half his life within Cold Flame’s armoured shell, coming aboard as a junior officer towards the end of the Clone War. She had been brand new then, and over the last twenty five years the mighty ship had protected him, surviving battle after battle, but the last few weeks had taken their toll, not only on the ship but on her crew.

    Maar glanced down into the port-side crew pit, noting the slump of the officer’s shoulders and the weary cloak hanging over each of them. They stared with hollow eyes at the readouts in front of them, faces unshaved, tunics unbuttoned. Maar didn’t blame them. They were witnessing the end of their world. He himself stood rigidly to attention, despite the weariness creeping though his bones, hands clasped behind his back, grey uniform immaculate. It wouldn’t do to show weakness. The crew needed him to be strong.

    The blast doors at the rear of the bridge opened and Lt Cmdr. Hela strode onto the command deck. He noticed her eyes flick down into the starboard crew pit, where technicians were working to repair the damage inflicted by the explosion which killed the ships first officer, tactical officer and several other key personnel, so that at the tender age of twenty-nine Hela found herself as executive officer of a star destroyer. Her shoulders were hunched, and Maar could tell that the responsibility for the lives of thirty-seven thousand crewmen and women was crushing her.

    Well, less lives than that now.

    ‘Damage report sir.’


    ‘The hyperdrive is beyond repair. The chief engineer says the damage is too extensive, the entire drive system will need to be replaced.’

    So that was it. They were dead in space. It could take years at sublight speeds to reach the nearest inhabited star system. The news did not surprise Maar, not after the damage inflicted by that last wave of Y-wings. They had been lucky to escape at all. He looked at Hela. In the old days of the Empire, delivering such catastrophic news would likely have meant a summary execution, but even if Maar had been the kind of tyrant that Imperial officers often were, he needed Hela too much.

    ‘Casualty report?’

    Hela passed a datapad too him without speaking. He glanced at the list and pocketed it to study later. ‘Have their personal effects tagged and put into storage. We will transmit this list the appropriate authorities at the earliest opportunity.’

    ‘What will we do now sir?’

    Maar felt a tug at his cheek. ‘What we always do, commander. We’ll survive.’

    ‘Yes sir.’ Hela dropped her gaze.

    ‘Something else commander?’

    ‘I don’t want to speak out of turn.’

    Maar looked around the bridge, seeing the fire-scorched bulkheads, the smashed equipment and damage inflicted by weeks of constant battle. ‘These are unusual times commander. Don’t let protocol hold you back.’

    ‘Sir… perhaps we should abandon the Cold Flame.’

    Maar felt a chill sweep through his body. ‘You mean, surrender?’

    Hela kept her voice low, so that none of the bridge crew could hear her. ‘I don’t think we have any options left sir. We’ve been fighting for weeks, trying to link up with our forces without success. We’re on our own and there’s nobody coming to help us. If we turn ourselves in we’ll be treated fairly.’

    ‘I have no doubt that we will commander.’ Maar stepped up to the viewport and gazed out at the vast expanse of stars. The Empire was in chaos following not only the loss of the second Death Star in the battle above Endor, as well as a large chunk of the 7th fleet, but also the crushing death of the Emperor and Darth Vader. Without their unifying influence the Empire was shattered, with planetary governors and grand admiral's fighting each other over the scraps of the once mighty dominion.

    ‘The tide may have turned against us but that doesn’t mean we should just give up. The Empire is the greatest institution this galaxy has ever seen and it will continue on long after we die.’ He was talking loudly now, so that the rest of the crew could hear. ‘I know the future seems dark but we will survive and rebuild what we have lost. We must fight on.’

    Maar stared into Hela’s tired eyes. She nodded, but not in agreement. She was merely acknowledging her orders. He wondered how many of the crew were thinking the same thing as her. The Rebel Alliance had promised them fair treatment, and all he could offer them was death.

    Looking out at the distant stars, Maar felt the full weight of his fifty years grinding him into the deckplates. When he joined the Republic military he had been following family tradition, but he had seen the Republic for what it was: bloated with age and decadence. When Chancellor Palpatine had assumed power Maar had been one of those who cheered the loudest. To him the Empire represented more than sheer power and might. It stretched across the galaxy bring order and justice to thousands of planets and trillions of people.

    He ran a hand along his well-worn command console. Even after all these years he felt excitement at the prospect of sailing the Cold Flame between the stars.
    ‘Sir, we’re detecting ships entering the system.’

    Maar closed his eyes. ‘Tactical analysis?’

    The officer scanned his readout, although Maar could tell what the answer would be just from the slump of his shoulders. ‘They’re rebel ships sir. I’m detecting several support ships, two light cruisers and a Mon Calamari battleship. They’re closing fast.’

    Lifting his eyes to the viewport, Maar stared out at the bright flash of light as another wave of ships dropped out of hyperspace and advanced towards his beleaguered star destroyer.

    ‘All hands battle stations.’

    He felt Hela shift beside him. ‘Sir, with all due respect…’

    ‘Enough.’ Maar cut across her. ‘We’ve all sworn an oath to give our lives if necessary and until we receive a formal order to surrender it is our duty to fight the enemies of the Empire to our last breath.’

    He glanced around the bridge, taking in the frightened faces of the junior officers and mustered a smile. ‘You’ve all placed your trust in me before. Now I’m asking you to put your faith in me one last time.’

    Punching a panel on his control board he opened up a comm channel to the main gun deck. ‘Lieutenant, what is your status?’

    ‘The starboard power coupling is down,’ answered a faint voice. ‘We’ve lost power to the entire starboard battery of turbolasers and only three of the port battery are still functional.’

    ‘Do you best, get me as much firepower as you can.’ Maar shut off the intercom and turned to face the bridge. ‘Helm, turn the ship so we present all of our functioning turbolasers to bear on the approaching ships.’

    The rebel ships were accelerating to attack speed now, their fighters sweeping ahead of the capital ships. Most of the Cold Flame’s complement of tie-fighters had been destroyed or badly damaged, leaving only a handful to screen them from the squadrons of X-wings that were closing in on them. Beyond the swarming dogfighters the lumpy shape of the Mon Cal cruiser was turning, preparing to deliver a full broadside bombardment.

    Maar could feel his fingers digging into the metal frame of his console, preparing himself for the familiar tremble of turbolaser fire striking his beloved ship. There was no way in hell he was going to give up the Cold Flame to the rebellion. The star destroyer was more than a symbol of Imperial power, it was his home. He would rather see it destroyed than taken as a trophy.

    ‘All turbolaser batteries, prepare to fire on my…’ something slammed into his lower back before he could complete his order. He collapsed forward over his console, his legs giving out from under him. The blaster bolt had severed his spine and ruptured several internal organs. Arterial blood pumped out, staining his immaculate uniform red-brown. He toppled to the deck and saw Hela lower her blaster and stride forward to the command console and open up a channel to the approaching rebels.

    ‘Alliance ships, this is the Imperial star destroyer Cold Flame. We surrender. I repeat, we surrender. Break off your attack.’ She glanced towards the tactical officer. ‘Take all weapons systems offline.’

    The young man stared at her for a moment looking shocked, and then stooped over his console and Maar felt the shudder through the deck as the ship’s turbolasers were deactivated. His body tingled, but strangely he felt no pain, only a blackness which tickled the edges of his vision. Blood pooled around his body. With an effort he raised his eyes to the embossed plaque over the main viewport, emblazoned with the ship’s name. His ship.

    Hela watched the squadrons of x-wings veer off at the last minute, leaving bright orange trails of light behind them as they swooped across the ruined hull of the Cold Flame. ‘I’m sorry Captain. I couldn’t…’

    She stopped in mid-sentence. Ian Maar’s eyes were wide and blank, staring up at the dedication plaque, his body still.

    She knelt beside him and closed his eyes.
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Ewok Poet like this.
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    gaarastar58 - great missing moment/post ROTJ scene. =D= =D= Very much what one would expect in a ship's commander. @};-
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  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Wow. Another one of these little jewels of yours that manage to say so much in so few words.

    I loved the contrast between Maar and Hela, their different approach to the end of the Empire but also their entirely different relationship to the start destroyer itself. Maar has this very physical relationship to his ship -- he touches it, feels it, listens to the noises -- whereas Hela merely thinks of it as a warship and a means of transport. The way you showed how Maar relates to his ship with all his senses gave a poignancy to the idea that he cannot surrender, because the ship is part of him.

    Great job, as always!
  22. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    ^ There is nothing much I can say after this comment, as the said contrast was the heart and soul of his story. It could mean so many things, from the principles established in literature for how men and how women think, to two completely different approaches to duty and the Empire itself. And then, expected or not, Maar dies with the only solid thing he ever had, at the hand of his own co-Imperial and a friend, pretty much mirroring the situation in the GFFA itself and repeating so many different histories. Goosebumps. As usual.

    FYI: the board ate the space between the first and second paragraph, as well as the one right before ‘Sir, we’re detecting ships entering the system.’
    AzureAngel2 and gaarastar58 like this.
  23. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    The Storm

    The desert wind tore across the plains, battering the small homestead at the edge of the Jundland Wastes. It had a distinctive sound, a grinding howl which rasped across the surface of Tatooine like an angry sea. That was how Beru Lars imagined it at any rate, although she could not be sure as she had never seen the sea, having grown up beneath the twin suns of the desert planet.

    She stood looking up at the cover which her husband had secured across the opening to the sink-hole in which their home was built. He had anticipated the storm, but its fierceness had taken even a seasoned farmer like him by surprise and even as Beru watched she saw sand trickling beneath tiny gaps in the thick tarp sheet. Owen was out somewhere in that storm, braving the corrosive sand that could erode stone and metal.

    Hoisting the container of water she was carrying, she crossed the sink-hole and climbed the short flight of rough-hewn steps to her nephew’s bed chamber. The room was small and low-ceilinged, although that hardly mattered to Beru as she had never been tall. Closing the door to muffle the sound of the storm, she went to the bed and laid a hand on the forehead of the nine-year-old boy lying there. His skin was burning hot and dry as parchment. He winced at her touch.

    The fever had started two days before. At first Beru had been convinced that it was merely a passing illness and had packed Luke off to bed to let it run its course, but since last night it had worsened. For hours now he had floated in and out of consciousness. When he did wake he seemed delirious, crying out at things neither Owen nor Beru could see. It was dust fever. Owen had immediately set off to Tosche Station to fetch medicine but that had been hours ago and the storm had grown worse since he left, matching the rising fever that was tearing Luke’s body apart. All Beru could do was sit next to him, hold his hand and sponge his forehead with a damp cloth and pray that Owen would make it back in time. There were many dangers in the Tatooine outback, but dust fever was a killer, and more than one family in the region around Anchorhead had lost a child to it.

    Leaning over the bed, Beru combed a hand through Luke’s hair. It felt damp beneath her fingers, despite the dryness of his skin, which had started to crack in places. His breathing rattled in his throat. Unless Owen returned – soon – Luke would either die of dehydration or his trachea would become so dry he would be unable to breathe. She took his hand in hers and squeezed it tight.

    ‘I’m here Luke. I’m with you,’ she said. She did not know if he could hear her, but she found some comfort in the words.

    Luke’s body shivered beneath the thin blanket. She had made the blanket herself, sewing together spare bits of cloth to make a patchwork quilt for his small bed after he had come to live with them. Back then she had no idea how important he would become to her, or how much she would grow to care for him. She and Owen had no children of their own and she knew that Owen blamed himself for that, so when Luke came to live with them it had made them both very happy, for all that Owen tried to appear gruff and moody.

    Dipping a cloth into the bucket of water at her feet she dabbed at Luke’s face and neck, humming one of the crude lullabies she used to sing to him when he was an infant. His fingers twitched as if he was in the grip of a night terror.

    Model starfighters hung from the curved ceiling above his bed and his shelves were stacked with books about heroic exploits and far-flung planets, the kind of books Owen said filled his head with rubbish. Luke had an adventurous spirit and she doubted he would be content with a life toiling on a moisture farm. Although Owen banged on about how much like his father the boy was, Beru saw so much of Padme Amidala in her nephew. The woman had stayed at the homestead for a short time, and Beru had been struck by the strength and purpose in the former queen of Naboo. She had been so intimidated by her that she had barely spoken to Padme during her stay, but she had carried the memory of her long afterwards, and saw that same strength and resilience in her nephew.

    Luke’s back arched, his breathing quickening, becoming even more strained. The skin around his lips had a bluish tinge and his arms were mottled and cool to the touch. She held him close, patting her hand against his back.

    ‘Breathe Luke, breathe,’ she whispered in his ear.

    He gagged in response, his body convulsing in her grasp and she buried her face in his hair, kissing him fiercely. He couldn’t take much more, she knew that, but she pushed those thoughts aside and clung to him, rocking his body back and forth.

    ‘I’m here Luke. Stay with me. Keep breathing.’

    She remembered the terror she had felt when Obi-Wan Kenobi handed Luke to her at the doorway to the homestead nearly ten years ago. Never in her life had she been more scared, not even of sandstorms or Tusken Raiders, as she was of the tiny squirming bundle in her arms. He had been so small, so fragile. She had thought that the fear would lessen after a while, but instead it simply changed form as he grew older. It had taken her a long time to realise that she was afraid because she loved him. He was not the son that she would never have. He was simply her son.

    Luke’s breathing felt shallow, his chest fluttering. It would not be long now, she realised. With a thumb she brushed a stray hair from his cheek and cradled him against her body, mumbling soft words to comfort him. His mouth gaped, trying to suck oxygen into his lungs but not managing to take a full breath.

    A sound from outside snatched at Beru’s attention. At first she thought the tarp had broken loose but then she heard the tramp of booted feet on the stairs outside. Owen Lars burst into the room. His desert cloak was thick with sand, which cascaded from his shoulders as he stumbled across the room and held out a small cylinder towards his wife.

    ‘Take it,’ he said in a choked voice.

    Beru quickly snapped the cap off the medicine injector and held it against Luke’s thigh. He winced at the device jabbed a needle into his muscle but then lay still in her arms, his chest motionless, no longer even trying to breathe. The bluish tinge around his mouth had spread and his lips were black. His sunken eyes opened a fraction but stared at nothing, his brilliant blue irises surrounded by burst blood vessels.

    ‘Luke, stay with us. Don’t go Luke, don’t!’

    She massaged his chest, encouraging him to inhale. Nearby Owen towered over her, his eyes wide and frightened. She shook Luke, shouted at him, begged him to keep fighting. She could not lose him.

    ‘Come on lad. You can’t leave us alone.’ Owen was at her side, his hand on Luke’s head. ‘We need you.’

    Beru stared down at Luke’s face. Seconds ticked by and she saw no change until he took a shallow breath. It was small, more of a hiccup really, but she rubbed his chest harder, praising him for the tiny effort.

    ‘That’s good Luke. That’s it.’

    More breaths followed and slowly, painfully slowly, the colour began to seep back into his face. Beru gasped with relief and she felt Owen’s arms encircle her and as always when he held her close she felt protected, safe.

    They sat together, with the storm raging outside, wrapped up in each other’s arms. Owen sat on the bed and sat Luke in his lap, rocking him in his arms just as he used to when he was a baby, staring down into his boy’s face. Beru leaned against his shoulder, feeling the scratchy fabric of his rough-spun clothes against her cheek. They stayed that way for hours until the storm passed and Luke’s breathing softened and he slept peacefully in his uncle’s arms.
    Kahara, AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and 3 others like this.
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic! You have Beru's maternal love and caring perfectly and even Owen's tacit affection and desperate concern. =D= he is just simply their son. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. And bravo on the storm - literal and otherwise described here.
  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    This was so moving! Now I need to move your Tales from the Lars Homestead to the top of my reading list. I love your portrayal of Beru, but also the brief glimpse of Owen we got in this ficlet. Beru's anguish was a real punch in the gut throughout the story, but the moment when Owen takes Luke on his lap speaks volumes. They are truly Luke's family, his parents, despite all the difficulties that come with raising Luke Skywalker. This was very nicely done :)