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Saga - OT The Black Star (OCs,Tendra Risant & other minor ECs | 3.5 ABY | Action, Black Comedy, Politics)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok Poet, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Hah! Love this cameo from one of the most maligned of the important figures in recent Galactic history, and I am now wondering of course if he will play a further role in this story. It makes perfect sense that he would be a political refugee at this point in the Galactic timeline, and that he would know too much about Anakin and Padmé's "babbies"—though I'm not familiar with the comic you cited, I suspect he may be one of the few people in the galaxy at this point with that insight, and that adds a great deal of pathos to his current situation. I don't blame him a bit for feeling suspicious about conversing with people who don't "tellen me yousa name."

    (Hey, given that there was darn near an award for "best Yodaspeak" last year, you could most certainly be in the running for "best Gunganese"! And "best GFFA txt talk"!)

    This Deeina is certainly a mysterious character herself, with her multiple names and games and her connection to the Alliance. I imagine the nature of her mission will become clearer as things progress. That's a boring thing for me to say, but it is true—I'm not going to try speculating because I know what you come up with in that department will be much more interesting than anything I can guess. And yes, those young people and their datapads... that seems like a meaningful detail, especially [hl=black]given the abortive txt chat with which the next section begins—which we of course talked about already[/hl].

    It's always great fun to read your version of "txt talk" in the GFFA, and the fixed-width font was a nifty touch (what tag do you use for that?). Though the mysterious disappearance of the suddenly "bizi" BlasetreegoatAU casts more mystery and darkness over this particular chat than the others. I wonder what shaking the screen does? Just a gesture of frustration, or is it suppose to send some kind of alert? (On an Earth iPhone, that's what you do to undo what you typed; I don't know if that's true on Android devices too.)

    Nice to see some of Tendra's nicer side coming through here in offering to buy Doria's food. But what a contrast to Dak's continued tacky behavior! (Gosh, "stormie helmets"? Really? Not flattering at all, and that's saying the least!) I hope he has a nicer side that will come through at some point. Given the meaning behind the colors of the shirts here, I wonder if Doria's got something in mind with borrowing Dak's shirt (besides getting him to lay off Tendra). I hope it's not too long till the concert—two-plus hours with those... boys sounds like martyrdom! :eek:
     
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  2. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    So Jar Jar makes an appearance...and it turns out the old Gungan's a curious wellspring of knowledge. I suppose it's just a walk-on role, but it provides a central reference point to the galaxy's current events and the activities of Tendra and Co.

    There's an interesting mix between the GFFA/MSN circa 1996 (give or take one week and two hours) and random culinary items such as nerf ham (is there nerf bacon?). This hodgepodge goes a long way toward establishing a background for this particular section and group in the GFFA that shows how varied and mixed-up the whole galaxy is, plus the events going on.
     
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  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    This is a brilliant thread & I love your talent as a fanfic writer. But I am leaving the boards & I am sorry not to be able to comment any more. This way I just want to say good-bye! And I am not sure if I ever come back! After I received an important PM today, I understood that it is better to leave all behind. Even fanfic!
     
  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thanks for your comments, everybody. This is about to get really, really weird, so...BRACE YOURSELVES.




    #justiceforjarjar

    By now, he's got to be the most traumatised creature in the Galaxy, ever. And yes, I believe he's realised everything and does not deal with it well. He probably wonders WHY MESA? all the time, too.

    MESA AGREE.

    v v posibli

    In that case: [face_whistling]

    I meant it as an old MSN Messenger effect where you press a button and the other person's screen really shakes, with a quite frightening sound to accompany it. That probably shortened my life back in the days. O_O


    Tendra may be only the shadow of her wise adult self here, but she's got a good heart. :) One needs to start from somewhere.

    And yup, stormie helmets. Some sinister GFFA slang right there.

    Doria's shirt change has no ulterior motives - Maris did not want to rely a lighter orange one to her and this was the only thing she could do. Now, will it matter in the long run? Ask Code:Blue, he will only have two words to say in his response. :D


    Great wisdom often comes with foolishness. To me, he was always wise. :) Glad that it makes sense!

    I'd say 2003-2005-ish, given the shake button, but then again, I started using it in 2001, so I trust your word about the slang being worse in 1996. XD

    World cannot exist without bacon, so I say Let there be bacon. Am I the Maker now?


    I see that you changed your mind, which is good. There is a way to enjoy stories and have readers come on their own! :)
     
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  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    09 Indoctrination of Youth

    TW: Implied death, a couple of tasteless remarks and reference to spice use.

    Many thanks to Findswoman who beta'd this seconds after I was done, despite the fact that she has a bad cold. You're the best. @};-




    Thirty minutes before the beginning of the Grain Night Fest, Code:Blue was as stressed as ever. He was running around among confused performers, with a small datapad in each hand and a comm between his teeth. To an average onlooker, it was probably frightening. To those who knew him, it was perfectly normal.

    “Everything must be organised properly, of course. We want this to go well, of course.” He dropped the comm once he spoke and shook his head, then repeated his mantra. “Of course, of course…of course!”

    A tall blonde woman with puffy hair, wearing a short sequin dress, was trying to converse with the person dubbed her special guest. She could not quite understand what was wrong with him – sure she was taller than him, plus she was wearing high heels, but he could have at least made an effort to actually look her in the face.

    “So, let’s try this again.” She nervously tapped her stiletto on the floor. “Your band is not here, so this brilliant limmie player” – she pointed to Code:Blue who had managed to get himself trapped in a bunch of cables and was now being freed by nearby droids – “came up with the idea of your playing with me.”

    “Yes, and I’m honoured to be singing with such a beautiful woman!” Antonio raised his eyebrow. “We can collaborate further after our performance, which will undoubt…"

    Droids behind them were cutting cables – Code:Blue was mumbling something about “having to install new ones, of course”.

    “No, we cannot.” Pretty Dadanna looked almost threatening. “Here on Sacorria, it’s against the law to canoodle with an offworlder.”

    Antonio raised his right hand in protest. “Since when does a sector-wide star who performed for numerous Imperial troopers care about such a minor law?”

    “Since about thirty seconds ago…Nokaarbe.” She leaned over and looked into his eyes. That was the moment he realised that she was definitely taller than him, heels or not. That was his second rejection of the day. Was he getting older or something? Thirty-eight was not old, by any means! He did not want any more of this. He wanted to be off this planet by morning and, by now, he was sure of it.

    Meanwhile, Code:Blue had freed himself from his bonds and was running around once again, making sure everything was going smoothly. GR-3 trailed behind him, making sure that her master did not run into a stray power source or something equally bad.

    The members of Deeply Religious were looking at the crowd from the edge of the stage. Koobs was pointing at people in the audience, much as he always did before shows, trying to find volunteers to join the band onstage.

    “I like the blonde girl in the front row!” His trunk pointed at the taller of the two young women with a large banner. “Niiice stormie helmets. Really, really nice. I would totally put my trunk dow…”

    “You’re an Ortolan, kriffslider.” Anra’s expressionless face blocked his way, as he yelled at his wayward bandmate. “Draw a line somewhere! Plus, doesn’t the ANTONIO, I LOVE YOU! banner put you off? It sure would put me off, if I was a…err…omnisexual like you.”

    “Char is still going to pull her up on stage, right?” Koobs turned to the frontman. “Char?”

    No response. The Ortolan resorted to wrapping his trunk around the frontman’s neck. Charon just rolled his eyes. He was used to Koobs’ antics, as much as Koobs was used to his.


    “Sorry, guys…I’m still shocked by what we saw in that Curheg city. That is not a way to live one’s life, drugged by those flowers and not realising that the rest of the planet is a nice place, with no toxic fumes, darkness at noon…”

    Anra’s single expression did not change, but he seemed excited, as much as a Duros could be. “Midday Darkness"? Char, that’s a book title. I was given that in my political science class in the first year, as an example of…”

    “Kriff that, I don’t read no books.” Charon cut him short. “Anyway, I have a plan and I’m sticking to my plan. Oh, there he goes again…the happy government apparatchik!”

    They stopped their conversation as Code:Blue headed towards them, Antonio and Dadanna following him. After about a minute of awkward silence, the woman and the official both nudged the muscular singer.

    “Valorum, I am going to need your help.” Nokaarbe was grinning at his rival in an almost unnatural fashion for a Human. “No one but you can save me from this poodoo tonight,” he then added, sotto voce.

    “You? From me?”

    “Please! I need you to play quetarra on Underlevels, which I am going to sing with this delightful woman who rejected my supreme advances…”

    “That part is not relevant to what you’re asking Master Valorum.” Code:Blue looked at Dadanna, who just nodded and rolled her eyes. “Of course.”

    Charon was trying his best not to laugh, and pretended he was not amused. In reality, he had been looking for this opportunity all day. The Curheg-picked Sacorrian Iris in a conservator bag was simply calling to him to do something with it.

    “Now, how does one play Underlevels? It’s a Mencuri composition, isn’t it?” he pouted, in a manner that seemed to be his best impersonation of the former SWS member. “Didn’t you once say that I cannot play quetarra to save my life?”

    “I didn’t mean it! It’s natural wailer-rivalry. Just help me out, please!”

    “I will.” Charon was now grinning in the same way as Nokaarbe himself. Anra and Koobs repeated the same sentence.

    “Yes, like, you’re just going to stand there and make angry Duros faces.” Antonio pointed to Anra. “I mean…I’m so lost and yes, Underlevels requires a decent bassoon player and you’re one.”

    “And I’m a good drummer.” Koobs’ trunk was slowly wrapping around Antonio’s neck, making him uncomfortable.

    “Yes, you’re a good drummer! Your drumming excellence is separating sodium from chlorine! Your drumsticks are kriffing the virgins in the nebula skies!”

    Code:Blue had no idea what was going on. And Pretty Dadanna was not willing to explain it to him. The hypocrisy of show business would have been too much for him to handle, or so she thought. She shook her head and went backstage to tell her own backing musicians, all of them Selonians in Sacorrian Army uniforms, that they would have a paid night off.



    As the night fell slowly over the vine-covered blocks of the Northern District’s skyscrapers in the distance, the crowd was getting more and more impatient. They had been waiting outside for nearly twelve hours on an exhaustingly warm day and the word got around that one of the wailer groups was not present for “whatever reason”.

    It was twenty one hundred when a man who seemed to be sporting a perpetual grin finally addressed the crowd.

    “Welcome to….” He stopped to observe a crowd of about hundred thousand people performing his famed “baby burp” choreography. “Yes, that’s me, of course…”

    Once the crowd stopped, he breathed a huge sigh of relief and continued.

    “Welcome to the Grain Night Fest, brought to you by CESA. That would be Censorship, Education and Scholarship Agency…of this very planet, of course! You’re going to have a lot of fun…of course, progressive fun!” He stopped for a moment. “Young man in the front row, put a shirt on, of course!”

    Dak did not realise that Code:Blue was talking to him, until a security guard came his way, pointing to the orange long-sleeve shirt tied around the barrier.

    “Put this on!”

    “It’s not mine!” Dak protested. “It’s not even a men’s uniform!”

    “I said, put this on!” The tall Selonian male did not want to listen to the next excuse of the day.

    Dak mumbled a couple of “kriffs” between his teeth, while Tendra and Doria were trying hard not to giggle. Once he managed to put the orange shirt on, he looked awkward – there was too much space in the chest, not enough space in the shoulders and waist.

    “It’s all your fault, Doria Vorr! You’re a burden.” He stopped for a second to see if the girl was listening to him and then continued. “Wherever you are, whatever you do, you are a burden!”

    “She’s not.” Tendra rolled her eyes and hugged her friend. “The only burden here is you. Can’t you learn how to handle rejection?”

    Before Dak could even respond to Tendra and mention the reason she queued up all day, Code:Blue continued his speech. Or, perhaps, they started paying attention again and whatever he had said during their argument was an endless rambling consisting mostly of repetitions of “of course”.

    “We had a little problem with our original plan – three members of Steamy Wasaka Stew could not be with us here today, so their frontman, Antonio Nokaarbe, will be performing with Pretty Dadanna and Deeply Religious.”

    “W-what?” Doria put her hands on her mouth. “What is that supposed to even look like? This bootdisk will be worth a pretty credit someday, it’s too bizarre to even comprehend. R-right, Tendra? …Tendra?”

    It was not the right moment for a normal conversation. The five musicians got onstage – Koobs doing what looked a lot like a Twi’lek belly dance routine, to Code:Blue’s horror, Anra with his trademark blank expression, Antonio trying to be as calm as he could and flexing his muscles by habit, Pretty Dadanna walking like a nexu on a prowl. Charon ran out in front of the crowd last and got hold of the closest repulsormic, grabbing it like a hungry predator.

    “Prog, Saccorata!”

    Tendra got her eyes off Antonio for a moment and clapped her hands. “By Sarcophagus, he knows how we greet each other!”

    The crowd seemed to agree with her. Charon was greeted by a wave of ovations that even the Sacorrian Triad would have been jealous of. He smiled broadly.

    “As you have heard from our host for the night, the program has been changed. While I am sorry that three of our friends from Steamy Wasaka Stew were de…” Fifty thousand souls went silent for a moment. “…finitely unable to join us, I am sure that we’re going to have a good time tonight. Let’s go crazy!”

    With those words, Anra played a short bassoon intro and Deeply Religious blasted into Wanna Do Nothing With Me?, one of the lesser-known songs off their breakthrough album, Poodoo! Antonio seemed confused by the fact that he had to sing backing vocals, so he settled for lip-synching. What surprised him more is that Pretty Dadanna knew every single word of the song.

    Doing nothing when you drink your bantha milk
    Doing nothing when you play a round of dejarik
    Doing nothing when you're cleaning your speeder.
    Come on!


    I do nothing all the time
    Come and do nothing with me!
    Nothing with me!


    Doing nothing when you light up a deathstick
    Doing nothing when you attempt a mind trick
    Doing nothing when you're refilling the feeder.
    Come on!


    I do nothing all the time
    Come and do nothing with me!
    Nothing with me!


    Backstage, Code:Blue could not believe his ears. Did that Valorum just…just advocate deathsticks? Also, what on Sacorria was a “mind trick”? He turned to the person next to him.

    “Did you….did you hear that?”

    This was definitely not his day. Right there, in his flamboyantly disgusting attire of bright colours and shiny silk, was his archnemesis, Code:Red.

    “Uh-oh. You’re in trouble…Crybaby!” A mouthful of jewel-adorned teeth flashed for a second. “I bet that The Triad is not going to like this. Now, how could you have invited somebody who sings about spice and debauchery over?”

    “I…didn’t notice any debauchery.”

    Code:Red snickered. He had been looking for a way to get rid of Code:Blue, but the opportunity had never presented itself before.

    Meanwhile, Deeply Religious were performing what was more or less their regular set of old songs. After well-received renditions of Gamorrean Hard Case and I Miss Her, Pretty Dadanna got onstage to sing one of her hits and the band had a five-minute-break. Anra walked up to Charon.

    “You’ve got to do it. This is our only chance.”

    “I’m aware of it. I’m also aware that the same group of security officers that was at the spaceport is right below us. This cannot be a coincidence. Somebody has figured out that we are not here by accident.”

    “It was you who said that nothing ever is an accident. Let’s do it.” Anra looked over at the drum set. “Master Koobs, you in?”

    “You bet I’m in.”

    Charon took over the repulsormic from Dadanna.

    “We have decided that tonight is a special night, so…we are doing something that we have never done before. We are going to perform the whole of our new album, Emperor of Air and Darkness, right here, before you!”

    The crowd seemed to be mostly unaware of the group’s latest offering; they were waving, jumping and cheering on Charon.

    Oh it bites that you
    Can’t say what you want
    In the world we live in
    New Order!
    Kriff the New Order!


    Tarkin is dead
    But Vader’s cold hand
    Is right behind you
    New Order!
    Kriff the New Order!


    Come sing with me,
    Come raise your voice,
    It bites!


    Come sing along,
    This is your song,
    It bites!


    Oh it bites that we
    We can’t play what we want
    In the hell we live in
    The Empire!
    Kriff the Empire!


    Death Star is gone,
    But there’s a new one
    Right above you
    The Empire!
    Kriff the Empire!


    Come sing with me,
    Come raise your voice,
    It bites!


    Come sing along,
    This is your song,
    It bites!


    After a lengthy quetarra solo on the edge of the stage, Charon managed to duck a single boot flung his way from the audience. He pointed in the direction the boot was thrown from.

    “You’re a fan of the Empire, aren’t you?” He pretended to be holding binoculars towards the unknown offender, then stood on one leg and grinned. “Well, I’ve got news for you, Sacorrians. What you know as the Galactic Empire has nothing to do with what it really is. The leaders of your planet, your beloved Sacorrian Triad, made a pact with them: for as long as they can stay in power, they will be the puppets of the New Order. Now, in a couple of days, it will turn out that I never told you this and that tonight isn’t real…so, try to remember this very moment before you’re brainwashed into your ‘progressive’ life once again.”

    The crowd clapped frantically. That was the only thing they were capable of doing at large gatherings. Somewhere in or near Dorthus Tal City, the Sacorrian Triad had all the right to feel threatened. There was a reason for the five-figure bounty on Charon San Valorum’s head. A very, very good reason.

    “Did he just say that there was a new Death Star?” one girl in red shirt asked another.
    “Wasn’t the Death Star that thing that was set on fire on the Nolerday some years ago, in honour of progress and unity?”


    “Why would anything be set on fire in the honour of progress and unity, come to think of it?” added their friend in a yellow shirt.

    The girl in red turned around to see a pair of Drall students converse in their native language, using more expletives than was typical of their otherwise well-behaved species. Whether Deeply Religious were right or not, they got everybody doubtful about what their supreme rulers endorsed.

    Following EMERGENCY EMERGENCY, (Imperial Uniforms) Look Bad On You, Empire Day Rituals and Fancy a Vacation on Kashyyyk? came a very welcome Koobs drum solo. The audience was more or less shocked by the last song. To most Sacorrians, there was no difference among Humans, Drall and Selonians – everybody was equal, had equal work opportunities and social rights and, despite the rigorous laws and surveillance, things such as slavery were unheard of. The Selonians in the audience seemed more enraged than the other two species’ youth: just like Wookiees, they were large, strong and agile, and the idea of somebody using them as slaves made them fearful and aggressive. Despite twenty-five millennia of indoctrination by countless incarnations of the Triad, their hive mind was never truly gone – just repressed. And, at this very moment, their minds were buzzing and an instinct long gone was calling them to action.

    To make things worse, no legislative body other than CESA was present at the event. And the two CESA workers seemed like they did not want to have anything to do with this.

    Code:Blue was, at this point, chanting “of course” to himself, staring at the railing, with tears flowing down his face, while Code:Red could not stop laughing at him.

    Their act was cut short by a Drall intelligence officer. She came up to Code:Blue and offered him a handkerchief.

    “Glisse, you were manipulated into this by powerful outside forces whose only goal is indoctrination of youth.”

    “Brigada?” He remembered the name of the head of the security from the spaceport. She nodded.

    “We have received a communiqué from Her Drallship and she said that she is well aware of who is behind all this. We will have the offender arrested and dealt with after the event.

    “And what about me?”


    “Yeah, what about the Crybaby?” Code:Red asked, still laughing.

    “Comrade Glisse is to receive a paid leave for the next month. He is clearly overworked and overworked comrades are more prone to manipulation. And you, Comrade Zhoorka, will take over his duties. You can start…tonight, by personally dealing with the offender. We need all the information we can get from him.” Brigada’s right ear twitched in the direction of the stage, as she heard another k-blast in ‘Not Your Kind’. “He is quite dangerous, that young man!”



    After the last song from Emperor of Air and Darkness was played, the Drall crowd was swearing like never before, the Humans were singing whatever bits of songs they could remember and most Selonians were still standing in their places, shocked. Had somebody seen a holovid from the Grain Night Fest, they would have never guessed that it had taken place in the middle of Sacorria.

    Prompted by ovations, Charon and Anra returned to the stage with Dadanna and Antonio, the latter looking slightly out of place. The diminutive pronker was carrying a different quetarra, seemingly more sophisticated than his holosticker-covered homemade one – an Ebanze Nebula.

    “Hope we gave you the blast you will never forget tonight! Now our friend Antonio Nokaarbe, with Pretty Dadanna and myself on backing vocals, will sing a very special rendition of his band’s biggest hit, Underlevels. As you know, the song was composed by his bandmate Anjie Mencuri, and I hope that a mere three-chord player like me can do it some justice. I borrowed this Nebula from Dadanna’s band members, so a huge kriffin’ thanks to them!”

    “I’m nervous!” Antonio had completely lost his inhibitions after having taken the whiff of Sacorrian Iris presented to him backstage. “You’re going to get us murdered here! All those things you said…”

    Charon ignored his question and pulled the repulsormic towards himself.

    “What is he doing?” Tendra nudged Doria and “Why doesn’t he let Antonio sing already? An-to-nio! An-to-nio!”

    “What’s hyping, Saccorata?” he asked the crowd. “This group over here seems to be particularly wild. What do you say I pick one of these people to sing with us? We will need a backing vocalist for the chorus!”

    “Antonionionionioniononionionon!” Tendra’s chant was getting unintelligible at this point.

    “Yeah. I like onions, too…but they make me sick sometimes.”

    She looked up. Charon was standing right above their spot on the barrier.

    “How about you?” He pointed to the middle of the front row.

    “Me?” Tendra squealed. “To be up there with you and…Antonio?!”

    “Yes, yes, yes!” Koobs yelled from behind the drum kit.

    “Not you, her.” Charon blasted Koobs with his angriest of trademark pronk looks. “The brunette, not the blonde. “Security droids, bring me the girl in yellow.”

    Doria didn’t even get a chance to say no. The hands of a nearby security helper droid had already picked her from her standing place and dragged her over the narrow aisle.

    “Tendra, help me!” she managed to say at last.

    “You’ll be fine. Tell Antonio I love him, in case they keep you up there,” her friend yelled behind her, but what she said next was drowned out by the chants of the crowd behind her and some strange, deep sound that she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

    Once her feet touched the duraplast stage floor, she looked at the crowd and swallowed a lump. Charon appeared as if he expected her to run up to him. And she was just standing there, afraid that the swarm of shirts, all of them suddenly looking bright red, was going to laugh at her.

    Ultimately, the singer walked up to her himself and took her by hand. He shooed the repulsormic away and decided to encourage his volunteer quietly.

    “Come on.”

    “I…don’t like crowds,” she said. “Also, my friend Tendra is the one who…”

    “Don’t worry. All you have to do is sing along to what I’m singing. Don’t listen to Nokaarbe, he can’t sing to save his life!” Charon winked and patted Doria on her shoulder. She attempted to smile, but she ended up with nothing but her usual morose facial expression.

    “Oooh, a little boy!” Antonio clapped his hands and pointed at Doria. “I like them with bright hooves!”

    Dadanna chuckled and gestured to Doria to stand next to her. As she finally managed to steady a smaller repulsormic in front of her face, she remembered that she did not tell Charon that she couldn’t sing even if her life depended on it. She nervously surveyed the crowd, looking for Tendra, but there was nobody next to Dak and a blonde bun was now in the aisle below her, next to the uniformed Drall woman that she recalled seeing earlier that day, right before she and Dak had switched shirts. . Did Jhorn Risant do something for her daughter to see Antonio up close? If so, why did she accept the spare ticket from her, in the first place?

    “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!” Doria found herself talking to nobody in particular. Charon was already strumming the intro to the song that had been in her head all day.

    And Antonio Nookarbe was lost at this point. Whatever he was singing, it was clearly not Underlevels. The crowd, at this point definitely angry with what they were told earlier, was starting to go crazy. The strange, low sound Doria had heard a little earlier seemed to be overpowering the music from megahailers and she realised it was coming from the Selonians in the crowd. It did not sound like Basic. It did not sound like Mandaba.

    Another much louder sound suddenly stopped the music. Anra noticed that no sound was coming out of his bassoon and Koobs trumpeted out of sheer fear. A guided missile appeared from the hill in the distance and it was heading straight for the stage.

    “Doloria!” Pretty Dadanna pointed to the missile. “They’re at it again!”

    “D…what? Can I spread that on my bread?” Antonio said, his speech unusually slurred.

    “You non-progressive piece of bantha fodder! They’re an assassin cult. Run!”

    Before Antonio could manage to form a coherent sentence, Dadanna was carrying him on her back. At this point, he had a good view of her behind. But he was pretty sure it was a turbolaser chewing gum.

    Doria could not move. The missile seemed to be heading towards her. Charon, who by this time ran after the other musicians, saw her and turned around.

    “Let her go!” Koobs trumpeted again. “We need to get away from here!”

    Charon didn’t listen. He was running back to Doria, who was still in front of his repulsormic, petrified.

    “Watch out!” he yelled, pushing Doria to the floor. The guided missile hit the railing and made its way to the barrier, where Dak was standing. Doria closed her eyes and grabbed Charon’s hand. The blast threw the two of them far from the edge of the stage.

    And then it got dark.




    Footnotes
    Midday Darkness is an in-universe book, which was supposed to be my response to the Fifty Titles in Search of a Story challenge. I slightly modified the title after I dropped out of the challenge.

    Doloria are an assassin cult founded by Selonians on Sacorria. There's nothing about them on Wook otherwise, so all you see here is fanon.

    Repulsormic - exactly what it says, a floating microphone. Not intelligent enough to be considered a droid, but close.

    Duraplast - material slightly harder than our plastic and various resins

    Megahailer - a large, professional speaker for concerts

    Bootdisk - bootleg

    Ebanze Nebula - a lazy GFFA take on Fender Stratocaster.

    Everything else you need to know about Sacorria in order to understand the references in this story better is in this fanon entry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  6. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Well, that was a concert to remember! Or perhaps one that they'll never be able to blissfully forget, at least in Code:Blue's case. :p Of course, now I'm trying to puzzle out what's up with the sudden attack of this Selonian assassin cult -- [hl=black] I'm almost thinking Doria was the target (which seems ridiculous, and yet) because a point was made of the shirt-switching thing. But that's impossible, surely... [face_thinking] [/hl=black]
     
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  7. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    What an evening! And that goes for even long before the bomb attack, with Blue's absolutely spot-on impersonation of a decapitated chicken. Poor guy, I feel for him—I too have been in that "run around at the last minute making sure everything is in place" situation myself, many times. The semi-mysterious last-minute change in performers definitely augments it all; Dadanna may be a dive, but I don't blame her for her reaction, especially if Antonio's response to the situation is going to be to make awkward passes at her. At least one good thing that comes out of all this chaos is a paid leave for Blue—he really looks like he could use it. (Take that, you mean ol' Red, you!) Of course, I'm still nervous about what form the CESA's retribution will take. Brigada means business.

    The very risky surprise performance of the entirety of Emperor of Air and Darkness is a definite climactic point, and it puts me in mind of another subversive and unauthorized performance that can be read about somewhere on these forums. ;) Charon and his buddies have a lot of gumption to pull this off—especially Charon with his searing anti-Empire and anti-Triad speech. You do a great job of growing it gradually from his realization of what kind of place Curheg really is and what those drug-laced flowers are for. In a way, one almost can't blame the crowd for their confused reactions (and things like "Wasn't the Death Star that thing that was set on fire on the Nolerday some years ago?" further emphasize just how repressed and un-progressive Sacorrian society really is). The low hum from the Selonians is a riveting detail that really amps up the suspense of the scene; hearing that is our signal of just how immense a risk Charon and co. are taking here. (Interesting that Dadanna knows the "It Bites" song so well... I'll file that away for later.)

    And then Doria is pulled up on stage at that critical moment, basically against her will. Charon is so insistent that it be her and not Tendra, which almost seems to hint at some kind of ulterior motive. As Kahara observes, it makes it very much look as though [hl=black]she was the intended target[/hl], though it's hard to say for sure. Knowing how the Sacorrian hierarchy of clothing colors works, I imagine the shirt switch will have no small implications later.

    Then the missile hits! Dak may have been a jerk, but he sure didn't deserve to be felled by a Selonian assassin cult missile. :( Quick action and thinking by Charon and Doria, though—I do hope they'll be all right. Antonio's continued spice-induced silly talk adds an extra element of pathos to the situation somehow; he's really barely aware of what's really happening, and as much of a jerk as he sometimes can be, I hope he'll be all right too.

    OK, with a cliffhanger like that, you have to show us the next chapter soon! (And as the lucky devil who reads these ahead of time, I know we don't have to wait too much longer—riiiiight? ;) )
     
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  8. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you both for great comments. :)




    Just in his case? You're optimistic.:p


    We'll see...[face_whistling]

    I promise it will make sense.

    That guy's fanclub is one of my favourite things about writing this story. :) And he's definitely not the right person for these things given how anxious he is...yet, just the right person given how careful he is. The irony.


    Rule #1: Nobody should ever be blamed for anything they say to Antonio when he makes his awkward passes.:p IT'AS ANTONIO.


    Brigada definitely means business!

    This performance was planned even in the story's earlier stages (early 2015), but your Opus 66 definitely opened my eyes so as to how it could look like and what kind of a risk Charon is taking here, so thank you - thank you so much. :)

    She did perform on other planets, right? ;)

    [hl=black]In words of Code:Blue: of course.[/hl]


    1. It's subversive, in a meta way.

    2. I'm not saying that his death may matter years from now, but...

    3. Death of a young man is tragic, regardless of how much of a jerk he was; so RIP, Dak. :(

    You'll see Charon and Doria in the next chapter and others in the one after the next one, so it's not much a spoiler to say that they're alright, other than being traumatised and bruised.

    ENTITLED, YOU ARE. :p

    Just kidding. :D
     
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  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    10 Happy Grain Night

    TW: Violence and its aftermath, suspense

    Many thanks to Findswoman who beta'd this seconds after I was done, despite the fact that she had another cold right after the first one subdued. You're the best. @};-




    Doria opened one eye and sniffed the grass that had somehow gotten into her nose. She was alive. For whatever reason, she was alive. And not bleeding. One, two, three, four – all of her limbs were there and functioning. She took out her commlink and had just managed to light the space around her when she felt weight upon herself. Charon was lying on top of her, his nose on her feet and his legs on her head. He was moving, too, poking her ribs with his elbows. He was about her height, but in his semi-conscious state, he was sure heavy!

    "Get off me. You're all skin and bones. You will leave me bruised!”

    "A nice thing to say to somebody who just saved your life, you know? Why are you yelling at me?” Charon tumbled over and found himself in the grass next to Doria. It was only then that he realised that they both were yelling and that they were somewhat lucky to have worn the red, government-issued ear plugs required at all music events on the agriworld.

    ”Now…where are we?" He tried to get up and realised that the top of his head was touching the duraplast stage from below. Luckily, he didn’t hit himself. One more bruise would have been too much.

    Doria pressed her ear against the scaffolding. “We seemed to have rolled underneath the stage when the blast hit….somehow. I need to figure out how.” She quickly gave up listening, as it was impossible to hear anything other than the strange cackling sound of the Selonian hive mind further confused by the similar, but more threatening sounds coming from the Doloria, static noise from the megahailers affected by the explosion and occasional blaster hits – all of that accompanied by humming of Sacorrian Special Forces’ vehicles (modified Saygos, of course).

    Charon crawled up to her on his elbows. "Let's get out of here. Take me to…wherever you think is safe."

    "Aren't we going to wait for the law enforcement? And what about your friends?"

    Law enforcement. Law enforcement? What was wrong with these Sacorrians?

    "If they're arrested, which I don’t think would happen, they'll actually be safer in the Dorthus Tal Prison than anywhere else in the Galaxy." He put his hand on her mouth before she managed to say something. "If I'm arrested, I'm dead, as your beloved Triad will extradite me to COMPNOR. There is a bounty on my head, y’know? We have no more than a couple of days to get out of here before they realise what is going on!"

    "What is COMPNOR?” Doria opened her eyes wide. “Wait, don’t answer that. Why is there a bounty on your head?”

    By now, Charon was shaking his head.

    “I have a lot of kriffed-up poodoo to explain to you, but before that, take me to a place where nobody will find me!”

    “You are not threatening me with a blaster to do that, are you?” Doria cocked her head. She seemed more suspicious than any accidental ally he gained in the past.

    “I’m against blasters. I’m all for diplomacy. Just…just get me the kriff out of here!”

    Doria nodded and lead the way with her comm light, with Charon crawling behind her. They managed to get to the fence right behind the stage.

    “This is the way out of the concert field.”

    “Wait, how are we going to cut through a durasteel fence?”

    “Durasteel-schmurasteel, this is only a plowed dust corn field. It’s rope. Look!”

    And indeed it was rope. After some chewing and tearing, Doria and Charon were free. They moved through the nearby bushes, over the fields to the last residential buildings of the Northern District, not turning around to look at the riots developing and the army stepping in. The streets seemed to be more or less deserted, the working class residents were most likely in their beds already, blissfully unaware of what was going on in their neighbourhood.

    “So, this is where I live.” She pointed to a bunch of apartment blocks in the distance. To him, they all seemed more or less the same. “Oh, poodoo…I just remembered that I have to show up at Duchess Branna’s Grain Fest banquet for at least a little bit. How can I go there with you?"

    “Why is this important right now? Do you even understand that you’re my accomplice and that we need to get you and whomever you care about and who could end up as an accidental target off this planet?”

    “Do you even understand that my mother would claim that I’m a failure who always betrays her family and does not behave like a proper whatever and that she would be bringing me to tears for the next couple of months…years?” Doria kicked a pebble and turned to Charon. “Consider this your alibi, comrade…unprogressive…criminal!”

    "An alibi? I’m all up for it. Introduce me as a friend of yours, whom you met at the show."

    “I am going to be in trouble for wearing Dak’s shirt, anyway. I don’t want to be in any more trouble than that with my mom.”

    Charon was about to say something, but he changed his mind. This local girl seemed a bit thick and telling her that Dak was almost certainly killed by the Doloria missile would have led to a lot more questions that he had no answers to, at least not before they were safe. The more they talked, the more he began to realise that whoever this rancor of a mother was, she may have been the person for whose safety he was now responsible.

    And he didn’t like that. Not one single bit.

    After some fifteen minutes of walking, they were in front of the only building other than the apartment blocks – a family house that looked as if it was built in the early hyperdrive era, with an adjacent meditation cave.

    “This is the house of R’vanye…that belongs to the House of R’vanye. They led the efforts to colonise Sacorria, led by their Duchess Taranya. They have lived in Saccorata since pretty much day one, when it was just a handful of houses like this.”

    Doria led Charon to the large door. He put on his best socially acceptable grin, as much as a mouthful of chapped teeth allowed him to. The house-of-whatever construct, mention of a Duchess and whatever history did scare him for a second. It did not sound like a place for a pronker to be at, but at this point, he would have accepted any kind of an alibi.

    “Hmmm, the sensors are not working. Luckily, I have the keycard…”

    She stuck in the keycard. For some reason, the slot suddenly seemed larger than before.

    “Something is wrong here, Charon!”

    He looked at the slot with one eye closed for a couple of seconds and then spat on the keycard and stuck it in again. Doria was disgusted. Ironically, this worked.

    The main hall was empty. Each year, Drall children and their Human and Selonian guests were playing on the rickety stairs leading to the upper floor and using the railing for a bunch of limb-breaking and head-trauma-inducing games involving random household objects. This time, there was not a single youngling in sight.

    “You said it was a banquet. A party? Is this how Sacorrians normally party? Because it’s kriffin’ boring!”

    Doria hissed. This guy had a sense of humour that she could not understand, and it was not like she could understand anything about him to begin with. They proceeded to the dining room overlooking a large back garden. To their surprise, the lights were off. It took a couple of drallesque gestures to turn them on and when Doria looked to the ceiling, some of the tubes seemed to be broken.

    “By progress and unity, w-what happened here?” Charon looked at the sole of his shoe, which appeared to be sticky. Then he pulled a shred out of it. “An orgy? A fistfight? Both?”
    Indeed, the food on the large banquet table was dripping onto the floor, the bottles of expensive wines and Sacorrian whiskey were broken and the more steps Doria and Charon took, the more shreds they would step on. The shreds seemed to have been following a certain trail, dotted by blood, leading to an antique tilko wood armchair in the corner of the room with a large hole in its headrest. They walked to it, solely to spot a burn mark on the wall behind.

    “Somebody was cornered here.” Charon pointed to the mark.

    Doria looked behind the chair. About twenty centimetres below the mark lay the dead body of a Drall woman, stripped of all of her jewellery, with a blaster wound visible on her chest. She immediately recognised Gredda’s mother.

    “Comradette Kutya! Comradette Kutya, no!” Her hands were shaking. “Charon! Charon, come here….somebody killed her. Charon? Answer me!”

    Charon did not say anything. He too was dragging another body from below the cupboard. This Drall was smaller and stockier and killed on spot with a single blast through his right eye. The pronker sighed and closed his other eye as he placed him next to Kutya. It was only then that he spotted their identical collars, bearing an embroidered design of two Sacorrian irises. They must have been married.

    “Danyle!” Doria was at the verge of tears. She didn’t even have the time to think of what could have happened here. The third body, of Gredda’s twin brother, Tessar, had slipped halfway from one of the chairs to the floor. Killed by two shots through his neck, he still had a broken glass in his hand, as if he had tried to use it against whoever attacked him; or, since he appeared to have been bleeding from his palm, had desperately tried to take his own life before it was taken away from him.

    “These are wounds from an Imperial weapon and they’re very recent! Like, no less than thirty minutes ago!” Charon concluded. “Nothing to do with Doloria, so…may I be kriffed by a horde of rabid grey bears. My death was supposed to serve as a distraction for whatever the reason behind this was!”

    Doria didn’t listen but gestured to him to follow her into the next room. They searched around the lower level of the house, discovering more and more dead R’vanye family and some of the clan members as she went, all still somewhat warm. She was checking their necks for vital signs, but whoever had carried the execution was not prone to errors. None of them was breathing anymore.

    They were all killed while eating like Tessar, or trying to hide, like his parents; apart from two younglings who were executed with a single shot through both of their heads while sleeping on an ottoman in the trophy room. There was not one corpse of a non-Drall or non-R’vanye. Doria concluded that the guests had either left home before the massacre took place, or they were captured. Probably the former. How could one hide on Sacorria and have hostages?

    "Dead…dead…dead…" She had counted twenty-three bodies by now. She was trying her best to appear calm, despite her urge to pass out and her wish to just run away from everything and scream her lungs out. But she was stuck with a comrade with bounty placed on his head – he must have seen a lot of it.

    “Is anybody missing?” Charon asked.

    “There is no Duchess Branna herself and…there is no Ebe, the youngest R’vanye. Of course, there’s no Gredda, either… my best friend…a great comradette. She had received an important work-related offer this morning and she departed for Corellia on the first available shuttle. So she couldn’t have been here. Unless it was a joke. Let’s check out her room. She was known to withdraw from parties.”

    Seconds later, they were in Gredda’s room. There was a mess, typical from somebody who had packed in a hurry. There were no signs of fight. A lot of datacards and gadgets were arranged on a desk, with some more of them in the drawer.

    “And this is normal to you?” Charon was observing what looked like an extremely outdated comm link. “Your friend departs, her whole family is killed, the Duchess is missing from the crime scene and Doloria was sent for me?”

    Doria didn’t manage to respond. Something was moving underneath the desk.
    “Watch out!” Charon yelled. She turned around and came face to face with an E-11 blaster rifle.
    "Freeze!"

    A red-haired woman came out of the armoire with a stunned Drall youngling in her arms. The hand she was holding the blaster in was shaking and she did not seem to know how to use it. Nevertheless, Charon raised his hands.

    “Is that you, Doria? You’re screaming like a deranged avian in a soup pot!”

    "M-mom?" Doria was surprised. "Are you trying to kill me?"

    "I will stop trying to kill you when this young man stops trying to kill me!"

    "What?" Charon had obviously had enough for the day. "Is this your mother? Did she kill all these people?"

    "Comradette Maris Inesedam-Vorr to you. And this is Ebe.” Maris pointed to the youngling with the tube of the blaster, to Doria and Charon’s horror. “He is alive. I had to stun him so he would not give us away. And I only killed the one over there!” She pointed to the armoire she was hiding in. Inside there was a body of an Imperial Stormtrooper. “I was putting Ebe to sleep, as Kutya asked me to help with the younglings. And…”

    "Okay…comradette Maris, we need to get out of here. Immediately. I know Sacorrians have a thing for waiting for the law enforcement, but once the riots are over and somebody calls the police, they will be likely to kill us too and add us to the death toll.”

    “Riots? What riots? Doria, did you do something?” Charon nearly laughed as Maris, still playing nervously with the E-11, posed this bizarre question to her daughter.

    “You don’t understand your own planet! Kriff this! Just get me out of here to wherever you live before somebody finds us!” He grabbed Maris’ rifle and pointed it at her. “Now.”

    Maris shrugged and showed him the power pack in her hand.

    “Whoever you are, you are stupid, you sure swear a lot and you have never taken a Progressive Self-Defense class. Then again, neither did this deadbeat daughter of mine.” She rolled her eyes and spat on the dead Stormtrooper. “Still better than this monster who kills unarmed younglings and the elderly.”

    They headed out, Charon and Doria following Maris to the apartment building covered in vines across the street. Doria looked at the house behind them. Perhaps this was the right moment to cry, but she was still in a semi-euphoric state that prevented it. Was Charon telling the truth? Was every single thing she had believed up to this point in life a lie?

    Something shining in the grass on the very edge of the garden stopped her repulsortrain of thoughts. It was too large for a grain fly larvae, but it was her progressive duty to destroy it, if it was one.

    Instead, she recovered a simple necklace with a black solari crystal pendant, in the shape of a star, which her friend used to wear on her neck.

    “W…why didn’t Gredda take this with her?” she said to herself.

    “Come on, move!” Charon was getting impatient. She absent-mindedly put on the necklace and crossed the street.




    Footnotes
    Sacorrian Special Forces – Fanon

    Dust corn is one of the main exports of Sacorria and yes, legends-canon.

    Tilko wood – Fanon. Really fancy kind of wood.

    Solari crystal is a powerful lightsaber crystal and indeed found on Sacorria.

    Tessar, Gredda’s twin brother and Kutya and Danyle, her parents, were not mentioned before and while I don’t like introducing them as dead bodies – they may be present in other works.

    Ebe, the youngest child of Kutya and Danyle was not mentioned before either and this obviously introduces him as a new character in this story, and more to come.

    Everything else you need to know about Sacorria in order to understand the references in this story better is in this fanon entry.
     
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  10. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Goosebumps at the description of the carnage at House R'vanye! :eek: Broken glass and ceramic mixing with spilled food and both mixing with the dead—oh man, what an image. And the positions the dead are in compounds things: if poor Tessar was trying to defend himself with his wine glass, he must have gone down feeling really panicked and desperate. And knowing how important jewelry is to the Drall, the fact that Kutya was stripped of her adornment, whether it was before or after killing her, adds an extra touch of pathos, and insult to injury. I'm glad Branna managed to get away somehow (I assume that she, unlike Gredda, actually had been at the party), and that little Ebe was saved... though my heart breaks for the little fellow for when he wakes up and learns of all that happened. :(

    And yes, I'm glad dear ol' Comradette Maris Inesedam-Vorr made it too. The fact that she's being her being her usual snarky, overcritical self toward her daughter is, in a way, a good sign: whatever happened didn't totally quash her spirit, and indeed she acquitted herself with great courage against "this monster who kills unarmed younglings and the elderly." (As I said in the beta, the fact that she's so emphatic about that shows that she's ultimately got plenty of redeeming qualities.) She should probably watch it with that blaster around little Ebe, though. :p

    One thing that's interesting about this aftermath-of-slaughter scene is that it's left tantalizingly unclear whether this was completely indiscriminate, random slaughter or whether there was a plan to it. It has elements of both. And of course you know me, I tend to incline toward the view that someone planned this: for example, certainly there were other non-Dralls besides Maris at the party too, and they're nowhere to be found. [face_thinking] Could they have been taken as prisoners, perhaps? Was someone looking for someone or something in particular—perhaps Branna, perhaps even Gredda? I'm wondering about the latter in particular, given the finding of Gredda's black star necklace (dropped deliberately as a signal, no doubt)—an artifact whose true significance I have a feeling we are on our way to learning. :cool: And Charon's assessment of the situation is starting to make more and more sense: the concert bombing by Doloria does indeed seem to have been intended as a diversion for the massacre that happened at House R'vanye, and indeed Doloria may have been puppets of sorts.

    I shouldn't forget Doria herself here, too. As she herself surmises toward the end, it looks like she's starting to see her "progressive" world crumble in ways she never imagined. But she's got pluck too, and she's levelheaded, so that won't get her down for long. I know nothing will stop her from doing what she can to help her old pal Gredda, whom I'm stoked to see coming up in the story again—though I'm worried for her, too! [face_nail_biting]
     
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  11. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    That is why those Stormtroopers would not have had to end up there just like that. They're soldiers, they follow orders. They don't loot, they are not there just like that. They were simply told to get rid of everybody.

    And yes, they were all trying to defend themselves. :(

    Ditto. :(

    Absolutely!

    I'm afraid I will have to whistle.

    And yes, there will be Gredda sometime soon! And Duchess Branna herself.

    She handled this MUCH better than she could have. This may imply that she's terrified, though; and that her real reaction to it is yet to surface.
     
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  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    11. "Truth"

    Many thanks to Findswoman for beta-reading!




    Once at the Vorr apartment, Maris laid Ebe on the sofa and turned the viewscreen on, still holding the blaster rifle in one hand as if nothing had happened. There was no regular programme at this time of the night, only reruns of The Saamans – Your Favourite Nolerian Family, to which she would fall asleep more often than not. This was understandable, as the Sacorrian Holocast Network were known to reprise the same holocomedy up to twenty times.

    “If Ebe doesn’t wake up from this, he won’t wake up before the morning,” she said to Charon and Doria, who, unlike her, were slowly starting to catch up with their own shock.

    Instead of the regular programme, SHN was displaying only news bulletins.

    BREAKING HOLONEWS ::: BREAKING HOLONEWS ::: BREAKING HOLONEWS

    A terrorist attack carried out by the Doloria killed two people at the Grain Night Fest!

    Charon San Valorum, the singer and quetarra player of the Nubian pronk wailers Deeply Religious, along with an unnamed orange shirt were killed in a missile attack that occurred in the middle of the wailers' performance at the Grain Night Fest in Saccorata. While the body of the unnamed student has been sent to crime medicine specialists, it is assumed that Valorum was at the very centre of the explosion. It is believed that the terrorist attack was carried out by the Doloria, a radical cult of mostly Selonian assassins.

    Antonio Nokaarbe, the singer of Steamy Wasaka Stew, along with Valorum's two wailer mates, Anra Renek and Koobalt Nubes, will be interrogated about their connection with this tragedy.

    A couple of hundred people were injured in the chaos prompted by the explosion, but nobody is in critical condition.

    No state of emergency is to be declared. The Triad urges all citizens of our planet to remain calm. Fear is not progressive!

    “Poor young man…wait, isn’t that you?” Maris pointed to Charon. “Doria! What is this dead man doing alive on our property? Answer me!

    Doria had barely managed to form a coherent sentence when another bulletin popped up on the screen.

    Whole R'vanye family found dead in their mansion in Northern Saccorata!

    Twenty-three members of the R’vanye family, otherwise notable for being the founders of the Drall clan from which Taranya of The First Triad originated, were found dead in House R'vanye, located at 17 Sublata Lane in Northern Saccorata.

    Three bodies were missing from the crime scene: that of the current clan leader, Duchess Branna, that of her youngling nephew, Ebe and that of the current candidate for the next Duchess, Gredda. It is assumed that all guests left the clan's traditional Grain Night banquet prior to the massacre taking place.

    Another body was found on the scene – that of a Human male, aged about thirty.

    It is currently understood that this massacre unusual on our peaceful planet is closely related to the terroristic attack that occurred at Grain Night Fest thirty minutes earlier.

    Charon went to the window. The house across the street was now surrounded by Sacorrian police Saygos.

    “Told you they would arrive.”

    Doria finally sat down.

    “Th…they censored this news item! Gredda was never supposed to be there in the first place, she left in the morning. And Duchess Branna…that reminds me. Mom, what happened to Duchess Branna?”

    “She went to the garden to bring us some fresh herbs about fifteen minutes before a dozen Stormtroopers arrived. I did not see her after that. Did she pay for her whole family to be killed? I know they can be annoying, but…”

    “Just where do you come up with all this nonsense, mom? Do you really think one of your best friends would do such a thing?”

    “It was your dead friend who thought I killed them, remember?” Maris pointed to Charon, who finally sat down next to them.

    Charon threw a quick glance at Ebe. “That much is true, but you do have the kind of qualities that only cold-blooded killers have. Either way, you said that this massacre was carried out by Imperial Stormtroopers, and not your local army?”

    “That’s correct. I heard somebody yell ‘Where is she?’ in a synthetic voice and then, there were screams, laser blasts and the sound of breaking glass. In the end, one of them counted the bodies and said that there was one more. A single Stormtrooper remained behind and searched the house. I found a pocket stunner on Gredda’s desk and used it on Ebe. Then, when the Stormtrooper came…” Maris stopped. “I am not sure how exactly I managed to jump on such a tall man, but I guess all museum custodians can do that…?”

    Charon and Doria just looked at each other, confused. Maris continued talking.

    “And then I almost killed my own daughter and her new friend, but you know that much. So, why is he not dead and why is he here, Doria?” She finally put the blaster rifle on the side table. “Also, that yellow tesh-tunic looks awful on you! Why are you wearing an inferior colour?”

    “In the simplest way possible: Charon is obviously not dead, but you know that much. He pulled me onstage to sing and that was when the attack occurred. The missile was guided by something in his repulsormic, which was right in front of me. The next thing I remember, he pushed me and then we woke up a couple of minutes later under the stage railing.”

    “Heeey, I didn’t even figure out the part with the repulsormic. Do you normally guide missiles?”

    “We used something similar in a school project, a grey bear population control device.”

    “Your schools are wacky…they teach museum workers to kill and students to guide missiles.” Charon scratched his nose. “Also, the orange shirt was the young man standing next to your daughter, Comradette I-forgot.”

    “Maris Inesedam-Vorr! Doria, did you expose yourself to somebody?”

    “By progress and unity, mom! You didn’t want to bring me a short-sleeve tesh-tunic, so Dak Gauree, who wanted to be topless to…I don’t know, prove something to Tendra, gave me his yellow shirt. Wait, does this mean that they think Dak’s body is my body? Am I dead, too?”

    "So, here we are, two officially dead beings and a murderer the Triad will be likely to arrest pretty soon! This has got to be the best week of my life yet. Not that I’m not wanted across the sector already.” Charon shook his head again and tried to stick his finger into Ebe’s mouth. The Drall youngling was still fast asleep.

    “Me?” Maris was aloof. “A murderer?”

    "Yes, you. We have about two or three days before they figure out that I'm not dead, that the person who died wearing the orange shirt was, in fact, not the person who owned it and that there is an adult eyewitness to the massacre. Therefore, we have to get off this planet.”

    “You are being ridiculous. We were supposed to leave for Vagran in about a week, anyway. I need enough time to pack. We’re supposed to remain there for three years…”

    “Vagran? Perfect!” Charon clapped his hands and proceeded to tickle Ebe’s ear. “Just finish packing and we’ll head there before sunrise. Whom do you have there?”

    “My aunt.” Maris pointed to a holo of a small, busty, grey-haired woman on the wall. “And Doria’s studies, since the little unprogressive piece of grain fly fodder was not accepted to Dorthus Tal University.” She paused. “Wait, before sunrise? I said I needed a week to pack!”
    Doria slapped Charon on the hand just as he was about to pick one of Ebe’s whiskers. She wanted to say something, but Maris continued. “We do have permission to leave Sacorria at any given time this month. But we don’t have a ship.”

    “The blonde girl.” Charon’s response came faster than she expected.

    “The blonde girl? Tendra?” Doria turned to Maris and Charon again. “What does she have to do with this?”

    “Not her. I only spent one day on this planet, but if I understand how these Sacorrian things work, she wears red and somebody pulled her out of the mosh pit minutes before the explosion. My guess is that somebody in her family works for your delightful establishment. Since this is Sacorria, it’s got to be her dad.” He scratched his nose. “I’m talking about the other blonde girl.”

    “Who? Why not Tendra?”

    “Why not Tendra?” Charon repeated the last sentence, mocking Doria’s voice. “If nothing else, with my option, we get to have a small starcruiser, with enough space for you, your mother and your luggage – the latter including me and the sleepyboy. I will give you the comm code.”

    “I will…comm that person in the morning, then.” She said and headed to the ’fresher. “I’m in extreme need of a long, refreshing, sonic.”

    “No, comm her now.” Charon was slowly losing patience. “Also, what you call ‘sonic’ on these planets with lots of water is not what we would call sonic on Nubia.”

    Doria ignored the latter. “Whoever she is, I don’t want to wake her up.”

    “Just comm her!”

    “Are you nuts? People sleep at this time!”

    “It’s a high time you meet a Sacorrian who does not blindly abide to these rules of yours.”

    …​

    The two members of Deeply Religious, Antonio Nokaarbe, Pretty Dadanna and two CESA officials were sitting in a large interrogation room. Brigada was nervously pacing around and pressing digits on her unusually large comm link-like device. No matter what she did, the gadget would return a red light and two short beeps. The four musicians were quiet, and for good reason. Once they were off the stage, expecting to be evacuated for what had grown into a nasty riot, the two Humans and the Drall had just ordered them to put on black helmets provided by the Selonian security officers. Since then, they had been sitting in the dark for about one standard hour, waiting for someone – they didn’t know whom.

    The commlink surrogate beeped twice and returned a green light.

    “The last shuttle has finally arrived.” Brigada was relieved. “Not even Their Leaderships have time for everything, but they made it!”

    On her command, Code:Blue and Code:Red removed the vision-blocking helmets from the other four beings’ eyes. It was about time.

    “Where is Charon?” Anra looked around to see who was with him.

    “Forget Charon…where are we?” Koobs seemed disappointed. “And where is the pretty girl?”

    “Comradette Risant’s father came to pick her up in his new Saygo,” Red said in the Ortolan’s face. “Have you ever considered buying one, by the way?”

    “There’s no kriffin’ way in hell I would ever buy that piece of poodoo…” His trunk went up seconds before Brigada’s stunner worked its magic.

    She looked at the large blue body on the floor and then turned to Anra.

    “Have you ever considered a Saygo?”

    He swallowed a lump and nodded. “Yes, I will gladly buy a Saygo.” He hoped that his perpetually neutral Duros expression would still convince the Drall that he was delighted by the suggestion forced on him. “But where is Charon?”

    Brigada stood still.

    “I am almost certain that Comrade Valorum perished in the explosion set off by the enemies of our world order, the Doloria. We didn’t find any organic matter left behind. The second body has been sent to the post-mortem facility of the medcentre in Curheg, as they’re the only ones capable of dealing with extreme…I mean, complicated injuries. But we are almost certain that it’s the young girl comrade Valorum pulled onstage with her.”

    “That is absolutely tragic! Be strong, comrade!” Dadanna hugged Anra, much to Antonio’s dismay. “But why are we here? And where is this?”

    “Comrades Glisse and Zhoorka and I are not authorised to reveal the whereabouts of this secret location to you. We very much regret that, but it’s the protocol.”

    “It’s not progressive, yadda yadda.” Antonio tried to mimic the Drall officer’s movement and speech, but the next thing he knew, Brigada’s stun device was stuck in his throat.

    “I love that holoflick you were in, Sky Riders.” This prompted a grin from her captive. “My favourite part is the one when you’re blasted in the foot!” she added sotto voce, watching Antonio’s facial expression change seconds before he began to scream. This was not the female officer fantasy he wrote about in ‘Master Lover’. Not at all!

    “I…I will be quiet, pretty lady…”

    “No, you will just be quiet. Their Leaderships are about to interrogate you and the three witnesses.” Brigada looked at stunned Ortolan on the floor. “Okay, two.”

    Just as she said this, the holoprojector in the middle of the room started flicking.

    “Wait, please. Buy Saygo! Please, wait,” a synthetic voice announced. Three figures in red coats, wearing glareshades, materialised on the holoprojector before the group. One appeared to be a Drall woman, one was a Selonian, and one was a bald Human man with a thick moustache. Anra and Antonio looked on as the four Sacorrians dropped to their knees.

    “By Progress and Unity, we salute Your Leaderships!” they all exclaimed in unison. Seconds later, Code:Blue added, “…of course!”

    “Are these the suspects we’re looking for?” The holographic index finger of the smallest Triad members pointing to the muscular Human male. She appeared to be speaking in a synthetic voice herself. “This is the one wanted by the Empire, Blobbo’s Crime…what was it…Commune and the Doloria?” The hologram’s whiskers were now projected on Antonio’s face.

    “Of course!” Code:Blue got up and pulled a datacard from his suit pocket. “This is what arrived this morning, right before Comradette Brigada and I went to pick up our guests at the Central Spaceport. You ordered us to deport the rest of his wailer-group from the planet and keep him here.”

    Antonio swallowed a lump. This didn’t look good. Not at all!

    “Besides, we’re pretty sure that it was he who had the Doloria sent to get rid of the late Comrade Valorum!” Code:Red pointed to Anra and the stunned Koobs. “Perhaps Valorum’s wailer-mates are willing to testify on this.”

    “You will not testify on this matter, Comrade Zhoorka.” The projection of the Human Triad member hit the palm of his left hand with his right fist. “You know what you’re in charge of, so that is what I’m expecting for you.”

    “Yes, your Humanship!” Red started counting on his fingers. “The Grain Night Fest. Held on one square kilometre of otherwise arable land which is in its idle year. Twenty-five tons of railing. Twelve tons of flooring. Thirty tons of foodstuffs. Three hundred forty-five injured comrades. Two dead.”

    His Humanship nodded and turned off the hologram for a moment.

    Just then, Koobs woke up.

    “Where is the pretty girl?”

    Brigada shrugged and stunned the Ortolan again. The hologram was back on. Luckily, Their Leaderships didn’t get to see that.

    “We had a little talk, her Selonianship, his Humanship and I.” Her Drallship walked in front of the group. “Transport the three offworlders to the Dorthus Tal Prison. We have all the rights to assume that Comrade Nokaarbe is guilty of orchestrating this brutal attack and we will interrogate him again tomorrow. The two other comrades will be interrogated about their late comrade’s threatening speech against us and the Galactic Empire!”

    Antonio was horrified. He started yelling. "I didn't do anything! Yeah, I hate his little guts, but I would not wish anything like that on –"

    He didn’t get to finish the sentence. One of Brigada’s stunner bolts hit him in the rear, and he fell on top of Koobs.

    “Thank you, officer.” The small projection clapped her pawlike hands. “Your Selonianship?”

    The tallest figure pointed to Dadanna. “Comradette Sarkle, we are big fans. Huge. Just keep on doing what you’re doing and reporting threats to progress and unity to our trusted CESA employees. You may now go. A shuttle will pick you up outside…I mean, at the first available non-secret location. Do you have a problem with that?”

    Dadanna got up and headed for the blast doors as fast as she could in her high heels.

    “You traitor!” Anra jumped off his seat. Brigada turned to him. To her surprise, he took the stunner from her hands.

    “It’s alright, I will stun myself.”

    With these words, he pulled the trigger and fell onto Antonio and Koobs. Brigada bit her tongue. There was nothing more bizarre than a stunned Duros. Perhaps a stunned Neimoidian? She heard of those, but she never saw one.

    “Great work, officer.” The Human member of the Triad pointed to Brigada. “Thanks for thinking about our very limited time. Anything we can do for you? You know your rights…”

    Brigada bowed again. “Nothing, your Leaderships. I am hereby requesting to transfer my right to a two-week leave to here present Comrade Joak Bluestar…hey, what is your last name? I know you as Code:Blue!” She shrugged and looked at the fair-skinned Human next to her.

    “Your request will be honoured. Comrade Glisse, you may go home now. If we need anything else from you, you will be contacted through the usual channels. You may now go.”

    “Of course, the usual means, your Leaderships! Thank you!” Code:Blue bowed to the hologram. “I can finally join Dani and the children, like I had planned two weeks ago!”

    “And me?” Code:Red asked.

    “Comrade Zhoorka. We want you to get hold of Comrade Jhorn Risant and Comradette Nola Katisver from the Ministry of Defence, as well as generals Roko Porkley and Gordi Gauree.” Her Drallship was counting on her short, thick fingers. “The Imperial liaison officer to CorSec will arrive from Coronet City in the afternoon for an urgent meeting regarding these unrests.”

    “What? CorSec is working with the Galactic Empire?” Brigada thought to herself as the hologram finally faded away and she and Code:Red walked down the long spiral stairs from the Interrogation Room. “Something seems to be very wrong here.”

    She scratched her muzzle. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Sacorrian system had to be preserved, whatever it takes. Perhaps she was doubting Their Leaderships in a way that was unprogressive and unsuitable. She swallowed a lump and made sure she was not turning towards Comrade Zhoorka, lest he notice the doubt on her face. Would he have reported her for non-progressive thoughts and obstruction of the system? Moreover, was she obliged to report herself for these things? She raised her hand, but changed her mind, prompting a shrug in her companion. At the end of the day, this little moment of doubt was not unprogressive – it only made her trust Their Leaderships more.

    After all, they knew what they were doing.




    Footnotes
    The Saamans – Your Favourite Nolerian Family - Fanon. And quite obvious what it is a tribute to. :)

    Sacorrian Holocast Network - Fanon. Its tendency to reprise the same stuff over and over is another affectionate parody to my own country's national television.

    Tesh-tunic - Fanon. Like T-shirt, but more starwarsy and archaic.

    Sky Riders - An in-universe take on Point Break, that film with Keeanu Reeves and a gang of surfers.

    Their Leaderships aka The Sacorrian Triad are a thing, yeah...and they appear in Nolevorution, Of Course! where their identities are known.

    Glareshades are the GFFA take on sunglasses.

    “Wait, please. Buy Saygo! Please, wait.” - See the above-mentioned Nolevorution, Of Course! to find out what's behind this synthetic answer machine-like message.

    By Progress and Unity, we salute Your Leaderships!“ - A standard way to greet the Sacorrian Triad. Offworlders are not expected to be aware of it. Similarly, Your Humanship/Drallship/Selonianship is a standard way to great each of these three mysterious beings separately.(Fanon)

    “Are these the suspects we’re looking for?” - Yeah, precisely what you think. ;)

    Jhorn Risant - Tendra Risant's father. (Fanon, he never had a name in any place where he was mentioned in Legends material)

    Nola Katisver - Original character, mother of the character named Jan, a schoolmate of Tendra and Doria's, who had a single reply in one of the previous chapters.

    General Roko Porkley - Original character, father of yet-to-be-mentioned character named Glaunder Porkley.

    General Gordi Gauree - Original character, mother of Dak Gauree.

    The Imperial liaison officer to CorSec - Legends-canon.

    Everything else you need to know about Sacorria in order to understand the references in this story better is in this fanon entry.
     
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  13. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Fixed an unintentional minor plot hole. If anybody read it already - and I hope you didn't - read again and forget all you read at first. D'oh!​
     
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  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    12. The Truth

    Many thanks to Findswoman for being patient with this patient, that is me. :p




    Code:Blue returned to his home on the southern cape of the Dorthus Tal island. GR-3, who was patiently waiting for the interrogation to be over, parked the speeder close to the villa so as to wake up the chickens and the numerous other animals that her Master kept in the more secluded areas of the spacious, tree-filled garden. She entered the house first and sat on a chair in the hall, waiting for him to deactivate her for the night, which he promptly did.

    Did he just hear the chickens wake up? At night? He must have been hallucinating.

    He shrugged and grabbed a dust-corn-and-milk drink with extra sugar added from the conservator and sat down on the large cornersofa in the combined kitchen, dining and living area with huge windows, overlooking the sea. The distant lights of continental part of Racottia were sparse, with no large cities between the island and the border with the neighbouring Berssia prefecture to the east. Just as he kicked off his shoes, a pair of tumble bunnies, the pets he got at the same time as his chickens, jumped out of an open cage in the corner and ran to him for some much-wanted cuddles. After a day as hard as this, he was feeling adventurous – his small feet were on the club table, something generally frowned upon.

    “This is strange…” He looked at the bunnies as they climbed one by one on the sofa and curled up next to him. “I don’t remember getting you out of the cage when I left for Saccorata this morning.” He took a large sip of his beverage and scratched the smaller bunny behind its three ears. “I should probably comm Dani, if she’s awake over there on Vagran and all, of course.”

    Seconds later, he activated the holocomm. A flickering figure of a long-haired woman appeared.

    “Where have you been? I’m worried! You have not contacted me and the younglings and the last thing you told us was that the festival was a high-risk event!”

    "Dani, I got a paid leave." He responded. “I am going to join you after I’ve got some sleep, of course. They’re having an emergency meeting at some point later on and even though Their Leaderships granted me a leave personally, I don’t want him to overrule the decision. You know what he’s like, of course!”

    “Emergency meeting?”

    “Haven’t you heard what happened?” He was surprised. “The Doloria. Again! The chaos! I don’t understand why that assassin cult hasn’t been dealt with yet! Of course, Their Leaderships know what they’re doing and perhaps they need the Doloria to protect us from that Rebel Alliance terrorist group, but still…?!”

    Three other, much smaller projections joined Dani’s, waving to their father. She gestured to them to be quiet and continued. "The last time you said that, you were suddenly asked to change an event organisation plan and that took you two weeks."

    “I promise I’ll be with you later in the morning, of course!”

    The projection of Dani shook her head before Code:Blue pressed the switch and remained alone once again. His family – of course – did not understand how many duties Code:Red and their joint supervisors were leaving to him. Perhaps it did not seem believable? Either way, he was not up for thinking about it – he had mere hours to sleep before his little hyperspace jump to the neighbouring system.

    Just then, the bunnies squeaked and ran away. He turned around, solely to end up face-to-face with an E-11 blaster rifle.

    "Hands up, Glisse. C’mon, move it!"

    The figure holding the blaster came out of the shadow. It was a busty Drall woman with dark eyes and tan fur, about one and half metres tall, wearing a necklace with a dozen of little black stars.

    And Comrade Glisse knew her very well.

    "D...duchess Branna of R'vanye?" His hands went down for a moment. He wanted to pinch himself and make sure he wasn’t dreaming, but the blaster was dangerously close to his chest once again.

    The woman nodded. "That's right. And you are going to help me."

    "Of course!" he barely managed to utter. Never before did the two meaningless words he used in nearly every sentence seem more meaningful. “But you, you are alive!”

    “That’s the problem I have with government apparatchiks like you – you don’t know what’s going on, and you don’t even know the official version, because what you get is some third take on things, reserved just for beings like you.”

    She slowly walked to the other side of the cornersofa and sat across from her hostage.

    “You’re wondering what I’m doing here, right? If there is anything I know – having been considered for the Triad some time ago and having refused to be a part of that farce – it’s that this tiny little cape is the only section of the island that is out of the reach of the Watchtower Base.”

    “It is?!” Code:Blue’s trademark grin was now an undefined, downright strange grimace. “But how did you make it to this place?”

    “Your speeder has a trunk and you were in Saccorata, right?” Duchess Branna rolled her eyes.

    “Yes, but I was also…of course…did you spend all that time here?”

    “There are things you never knew you could do, my young man, but then you end up holding on to your dear life and pew, you’re suddenly capable of it.” She crossed her legs. "I was in the backyard. We had run out of ryoo and I cultivate my own herbs. By then, almost everybody –” She stopped and grinded her teeth for a second. “– no, everybody but us was gone. The next thing I know, a military transporter with a batch of Stormtroopers is hovering next to the gate. My instinct told me to run."

    “Stormtroopers? On Sacorria? That's not true! That's impossible!" Code:Blue grabbed his head with both of his hands. This was where Duchess Branna put the blaster down. He was too clumsy to be armed.

    “Somebody else may be uttering those exact sentences right now, Glisse. Many things are too bad to be true. But they are true. I will let you draw your own conclusions."

    Branna got up. She was looking for something on the walls of the spacious two-level room. Above the empty tumble bunny cage, a grim painting was hiding behind a curtain. A black disc in the top middle section was surrounded by abstract shapes in shades of grey and neon-green.

    “So, Gredda was right,” she said to herself, shaking her head. "Tell me, who gave this to you?”

    Code:Blue walked to her. "I got this from her excellence, Dean Roula of Pelayn, from the University of Progressive Arts in Sublata. It was a gift for my third goal at the Galactic Limmie Cup five years ago. She said it was an artistic rendition of the crowd watching us and celebrating.”

    “The goal?” Branna cocked her head.

    “Yes, of course, that goal!” Code:Blue appeared to be expecting something, his face slowly pulling into a grimace again. But it wasn’t happening. He stopped for a moment. This woman was not imitating him or laughing at the mention of the said goal. Her face remained serious and her eyes stuck to the painting. A couple of minutes later, she whispered a couple of words that he recognised as serious insults in Drallish, and shook her fist at the painting. He was sure that she was crying.

    “Are you alright?”

    “No. How would you feel like if your whole family was dead? And no, I am not going to do your stupid baby burp thing, either. The only person who is going to do something here is you. You are going to take me to Vagran. Now.”

    Code:Blue almost tripped on his own feet. “I’m tired! Of course, I need some sleep.”

    “Of course, you do, you are one tired puppet…but your droid doesn’t.” Branna pointed to the corridor leading outside. “If you truly love Sacorria, you’re also going to make sure that this painting remains in your possession, no matter what.”

    “Of course, it will. Taì, Aarla and Jenik love it! Especially Jenik, since that was the goal celebrating his birth.”

    Branna smiled and shook her head. "Make sure you keep it in a safe place." She then took the blaster out again and aimed at Code:Blue’s chest. “Now listen carefully. Before we depart, you will create a backdated record of the lecture on leadership I am holding in Abatore. It will turn out I had to go at the end of my own party.”

    “But why Vagran?”

    " Your family is vacationing there, right?"

    "Yes, at the Esitania Hunting Grounds."

    "And you got a paid leave?" She cocked her head and thrust her face so close to his that he could see himself in her black eyes. What was it with dominant Drall women telling him what to do? "All traffic to Vagran is being rerouted from the new spaceport to the others...so you will leave me there and continue your journey to the southern continent."

    “I…of course…but I still don’t understand why you need to go.” He gently tried to move the blaster away. “Their Leaderships will deal with whoever killed…”

    "No, they won’t. Accept this as your first truth. You have not seen any truth in your life so far, so it may take some time for it to sink in."

    …​

    The last thing Gredda expected after being sent on an important task that required an engineer like her was ending up on board a Star Destroyer.

    What happened after the Gozanti class cruiser landed on Corellia did not make much sense. Instead of a representative of the Corellian Engineering Corporation greeting her, an Imperial officer who introduced himself as Darse Loor and a pair of Stormtroopers escorted her to another starship and left. Minutes later, as she was having lunch with two other officers, the Star Destroyer made a jump into hyperspace.

    After fifteen minutes spent looking at the dotted lines passing by, she was worried. Centerpoint Station and indeed the whole of the Corellian System must have been way past them at the moment.

    “Is everything okay, Mistress Gredda?” one of the officers asked. “You keep putting an empty spoon into your mouth.”

    The other officer stopped eating and silently pressed a button on his comm link.

    “No.” Gredda dropped the spoon. “Nothing is okay. I demand an explanation. And I demand it right now.”

    “You are pretty smart…for a Sacorrian.” The first officer leaned over the table, his head held up by his elbow.

    “There are many smart Sacorrians. It’s not our fault we don’t know what everybody has known since forever.” Gredda paused and finally took a bite. “Therefore, don’t lie to me.”

    The man gestured to a protocol droid standing behind the table. Mere seconds later, an interrogation droid appeared.

    “Only if you don’t lie to me, either.” The officer pointed to the droid. “We heard you were the weapon specialist at AARIS.”

    “AARIS makes complex agricultural appliances, to aid in the fight against parasites, a better harvest…”

    The interrogation droid let a short wave of electricity to Gredda’s head. She screamed, prompting a grin from the officer.

    “I shall repeat my question and you may respond as you see fit. We heard you were the weapon specialist at AARIS.”

    “Yes. AARIS is seventy-five-percent dedicated to creating weapons.” Gredda swallowed a lump. “The remaining twenty-five-percent of our capacity indeed deals with agricultural appliances.”

    “That’s better.” The first officer grinned. “And, as far as I have been informed, you use solari crystals from an unspecified source to power your modified and otherwise illegal ramships? Where is this source?”

    “That is the sacred secret of my clan’s ruling family!” Gredda protested, solely for the interrogation droid to extend an arm holding a syringe. It was dangerously close to her left eye. She snarled. “I am not telling you. A proud R’vanye doesn’t reveal this. Ask somebody else!”

    The second officer nudged the first. “Does Moff Jerjerrod allow that we tell her this?”

    The first nodded and gestured to his comrade to be quiet, then beckoned to the droid to step back.

    “You see, mistress Gredda, there is nobody else to tell us this.”

    “How do you mean?” Gredda’s neutral expression changed into a confused Orenth. Prompted by the second officer’s gesture, the protocol droid put both of its silver arms on her shoulders.

    The officer poured Gredda a glass from the bottle between them. “Initially, we offered your world’s totalitarian rulers Imperial credits to purchase your services. You were expected to know this, be paid well and this would have been an offer you would not have been able to refuse.” He paused to fill his own glass. “But one of your rulers refused.”

    “This…this doesn’t sound good.” Gredda said, as the protocol droid proceeded to massage her shoulders.

    “The part about paying you was not a problem, but they refused credits.”

    “That…that doesn’t sound like them!” Gredda finally took a sip of the beverage. It was Corellian whiskey, slightly weaker and less aromatic than the Sacorrian blend. “Why are we drinking alcohol?”

    “To celebrate the beginning of a wonderful collaboration.” The officer raised an eyebrow. “And to honour your dead relatives. I am sure that they were loyal servants of both the Sacorrian system and the Galactic Empire!”

    “M…my…what?!”

    “The Sacorrian Triad demanded that we dispose of the rest of the R’vanye family in order to be able to procure your services, Mistress Gredda. And we sent a batch of our best men for the task.”

    Gredda got up. “You killed my entire family?” The protocol droid held her back and she sat down again.

    “My deepest condolences.” The second officer frowned. The first turned to him, his green eyes closing in on his comrade like a warship. “That was requested in order to have you delivered to us,” he then added to himself.

    “Roula!” Gredda screamed, prompting the interrogation droid to come back. “Nobody else could do such a thing!”

    “We are not able to disclose any names, mistress. If you understand…”

    “No, I don’t understand!”

    Gredda closed her eyes for a moment. Holos of her mother, father, brothers, aunt Branna and the others were flickering through her mind, faster and faster. As a true R’vanye, she was taught to think of wins before thinking of losses. But there was nothing to gain. As an all-Sacorrian poster comradette, she knew that crying in front of authorities was not progressive. But there was nothing that was. Suddenly, being a patriot did not matter to her anymore. She was only sure that she was holding back tears because she did not want this man to see her grieve. Even though her subconscious was forming a flickering projection of Roula spitting on her aunt’s dead body, she did not want to be defeated. She could not have been defeated.

    “Actually, I do understand.” She opened her eyes and pointed to the starfield visible through the viewport. “Where is my place in the big picture?”

    “We are not allowed to give out any details to you. Once we have arrived on Sullust, we shall communicate a message to the Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod. He will then meet you at a location we cannot disclose.”

    Gredda nodded. “So, am I your prisoner?”

    “Not if you have accepted your service to the Empire as your only choice.”

    “I accept,” she said with a sigh.

    “Great.” The first officer put his palms together. “Ethree, escort her to her private quarters. She is probably going to need some time to contemplate and we have other things to do, anyway.”

    “Yes, master.” The droid turned to the Drall. “Follow me, please.”

    She followed Ethree to the turbolift, and then to living quarters on the lower level of the Star Destroyer. It was only when she was by herself, in a bunk way too luxurious for somebody who no longer had anybody, that she began to weep.

    …​

    A small gold-coloured cruiser by the name of Tooka Whisperer stood in the corner of the private hangar at the annex of the Central Spaceport of Sacorria. Doria and Maris were waiting to board it, with Pretty Dadanna next to them.

    “This is the stupidest starship name ever!” Maris ran her fingers over the writing close to the cockpit before getting in. “Why would anybody, in their sane mind, name anything after a euphemism for…”

    “Shut up!” A voice spoke from inside of the largest container. The GR-series droid pushing the repulsorcart shrugged and left it in the main corridor of the ship.

    Dadanna turned to Maris. “I have seen worse! This is pretty progressive compared to…Charon, what’s your ship name, once again?”

    “Sticks.” Charon peeked up from the container, having seen the droid’s back. “But seriously, you were stupid when you came up with this name.”

    “Uh-uh! She’s not.” Doria stood between the container and Dadanna. “Just an hour ago, you were asking me to comm Tendra! After we had determined that I’m probably assumed dead.”

    “I reminded both of you dead people of that.” Maris left an incredibly heavy bag on the floor.

    “I feel guilty about leaving Tendra like this. She could be mourning me.” Doria took one last glance at the skyline of Saccorata through the spaceport’s transparisteel ceiling.

    “Don’t.” Charon’s green eyes flashed from the container again. He could hardly wait to get out after takeoff. “She’s privileged. Somebody knew that the Doloria would attempt to kill me and that she was too close.”

    “But she was always nice to me! Even when I was horrible to her!”

    “Gold spoon in her mouth, Doria. Gold spoon.” Charon stuck his hand into his mouth. “Rich people with a fancy address code and a fancy dress code” – he snickered at his own joke – “that is, people like her. They can be good, but they need to learn the hard way. And I’m sure her chance will come sooner than later. Dadanna, tell her how great you are, despite being stinkin’ rich. And tell her something about hard choices, too!”

    “Tell her what?” Dadanna sat in the pilot seat. “That I’m a double agent, because somebody has to save innocent people from the Sacorrian Triad? That I had Anra and Koobs sent to prison, because they’ll be safer there, than in hands of the Empire, being non-Sacorrians and all?”

    “I may need some time to process this.” Doria took a step back. “The two of you are absolutely crazy.”

    “Just wait until you meet the craziest of us.” Charon’s cool air burst into a lovestruck expression.

    “Mom, what do you think about this? Where are your smart comments now? Mom?”

    Maris did not say anything. She was now holding Ebe on her lap. He was still sleeping peacefully.

    “Just…just how many times did you stun that dralling?” Dadanna asked. Maris just shrugged.

    “There is another thing.” Doria was more or less talking to herself. “Gredda did not e-mail me yet. I have a bad feeling about this.”

    - END OF PART ONE -


    Part I is now available as e-book. It's TOS-compilant, containing the very same version of the story as the one in this thread - not that there ever was any other.

    >>>DOWNLOAD HERE<<<



    Footnotes
    Gozanti-class cruisers aka Imperial Freighters are canon.
     
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  15. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Sorry to be tardy yet again—another case of "beta who saw everything pre-post" strikes. (And a very lucky beta I am, too! :D )

    Wow. Fantastic wrap-up to part one here, with all the different characters and situations advancing into new, simultaneously more dangerous and more exciting territory. :cool:

    Between the descriptions of the house interior, the tumble bunnies, the other animals, and Code:Blue's own veru Code:Blue-ish behavior, the Code:Blue scenes have a very interesting mix of of calm domesticity (I bet it's a very rare thing for Blue's house to be quite that quiet!) and looming danger, and there's something really cool about having the odd behavior of the pet tumble bunnies be what heralds the presence of this august and unexpected visitor.

    And what a visitor! I'd been wondering when we'd finally get to meet the famed Duchess Branna, and she's everything (and more) I could have wished for. Determined, plucky, but still dignified and not at all without heart. The same reasons I like her niece, actually (more about her soon). Of course, one of the things really sets her apart is that she doesn't do the infmaous "baby burp" dance when the subject of THE GOAL comes up (which in a way maybe comes as a bit of a relief to poor Blue, since it shows she sees him as more than just a "personality"). I'm going to file away in my head the following for later: (a) Branna's necklace, with its obvious similarities to the one worn by her niece; (b) her reaction to the green and black painting; and (c) her earnest charge to Blue to not let it out of his possession—I suspect there's a very important story behind the last two especially, and that there's more to the painting than meets the eye, [hl=black]Tatooine Ghost- and Kilik Twilight-fashion[/hl]. [face_thinking]

    From quotes like this...
    ...and this...
    ...I have a feeling that everything our dear Blue knows from his life and career as a Sacorrian public servant is going to be turned upside down very soon (and that's no doubt where the title of both this and the previous chapter fit in). Of course, it's all very well for us readers, living on Earth in such a vastly different society, to say that—for someone like Joak Glisse who was born and bread and steeped in a society like Sacorria, such a change has the potential to be nothing short of catastrophic, emotionally and psychically. [face_nail_biting]

    Now to Gredda. I have liked her from the start, and I'd been wondering what had become of her... but oh my gosh, I had never guessed it would be something like this! :eek: But she's a true, proud R'vanye, the true niece of her aunt, to stand her ground as much as she does under such circumstances, especially about those solari crystals. (I now wonder if the black star charms worn by her and her aunt are made of that material, and whether they play some role in the clan's secret.) I won't lie, it's difficult to read about her being interrogated and treated this way, with the bursts from the doird and all. :( From what I've seen of Roula in other stories of yours, I wouldn't put it past her to have orchestrated the whole R'vanye massacre... but as long as Gredda and Duchess Branna have that R'vanye blood flowing through their veins, Roula and her cronies will only be able to get so far. Or at least that's my optimistic hope. :D

    Finally, on to Doria and her companions. Like Doria herself, I may need some time to process this too, particularly the reveal about Dadanna and her true motives—though Dadanna is no doubt right that Anra and Koobs will be safer in Sacorrian custody than in Imperial, so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. For some reason, I just love Doria for the way her thoughts are with both Tendra and Gredda in this dark and uncertain time. Even though one of them was a better friend to her than the other, she's genuinely concerned about them both, and that shows that she's a true mensch underneath her sometimes Daria-like snark.

    And I too am wondering how many times poor Ebe was stunned—he's been asleep for upwards of two chapters now. I'll file that away in my mind, too. [face_thinking]

    Great job sending part one out with a bang—waiting on tenterhooks for more! =D=
     
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  16. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    More and more curious! [face_thinking] The slaughter of Gredda's family was a shocker (that poor kid, though I'm glad that Maris was there and helped him :(), and the mysteries and danger seem to keep piling up. That painting that Joak has at home, the black star pendants, Roula, the Alliance agent, the Empire -- it's all one big, interwoven, Sacorrian-but-not-entirely mess that Doria and company seem to have gotten very much on the wrong end of, and I'm very interested to see where it all goes from here. =D=

    One thing that I'm liking is that we get to see several characters who have been dumped into the same mess in different ways -- Gredda, who just lost her family and has the Empire breathing down her neck; Code:Blue, whose sideways suburbian peace has been upended and who now has a Duchess dragging him around; Doria, almost hit by a missile, stumbling onto the scene of a massacre, and having to go on the run with her mom and two rockstars/Alliance sympathizers she barely knows; and the list could probably go on from there. Needless to say none of them are happy about it, but it makes for an interesting read! ;)
     
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  17. Gahmah Raan

    Gahmah Raan Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2015
    It's been a while.

    Chapter 4:

    - A very interesting chapter. Seeing some of the details on developing xenophobia in the Empire. Aryan Geelman sounds like a very messed-up guy considering there were rumors of plans for Vader eliminating him.
    - Soleo is an interesting character, though I have to wonder how he got that Stormtrooper armor on considering Selonians and humans have drastically different body types. And very ingenius way of faking death and escaping a fate worse than death. And nice to hear an alien with a perspective on beauty that differs from most humans.

    Chapter 5:

    - Back on Sacorria. Looks like another band is coming. Antonio seems like a guy that doesn't get much respect, and I can see why. He's so full of himself.
    - Looks like Dale doesn't like his full name very much.
    - And it looks like even after the Clone Wars, Neimoidians don't seem to care about the stereotypes that hit them.
     
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  18. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    So, guess what?

    Chapter 13 is coming right up. And there's a good reason why it wasn't posted earlier, mainly because I did not want to reveal some things about my DDC so early, before the time comes.

    Now, what else? The Black Star and one certain Anthology film making rounds right now have some similarities. And that freaks me out.

    ROGUE ONE SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY SEEN ROGUE ONE.

    In Rogue One, Galen Erso is taken away to work on Death Star, while his wife is killed and it's presumed that his daughter too is dead. In The Black Star, Gredda is taken away from her job at AARIS and tricked into joining the Empire to work on some minor issues on Death Star II, while most of her family is killed and it's presumed that Duchess Branna and Ebe too are dead. I had no knowledge of Rogue One when I started writing this, nor did I see any of it beyond the first trailer. Similar ideas can come to people at the same time and since I use Photoshop a lot, perhaps the Knoll brothers spoke through me. :eek:

    Ahem, I didn't copy them and John Knoll and his successors most certainly did not copy me. :p

    This happened for TFA, too, but on a much lower scale - in chapter 4 here, Aerenna Geelmen is thrown into a garbage chute, much like Captain Phasma at some point. :p

    The rest of the story does contain a sub-lot parodying something in one of the other films, but otherwise, it's not meant to have anything in common with anything.

    So, yeah, the comment replies. Bring 'em on!




    Three children, so many pets...nope, that place is never quiet. And wherever he could've got the tumble bunnies from, they will always act the way they would on their planet(oid) of origin and be constantly alert.

    She was not always like that. As a reader of Midday Darkness / The Light Is Me I Am The Light, you'll get to see what she was like in her youth...then again, that also allows her to figure young people out better than anybody else in these stories.

    She freaked him out enough, so that would be...too much. And maybe, just maybe, she's not a limmie fan. XD

    (a) will be addressed by a fanon entry. Basically, it's a Duchess necklace.
    (b) and
    (c) [face_whistling]

    *snort* I HAD TO.


    I might have explained how he got his last names elsewhere, but basically, he did something unthinkable for a Sacorrian Human male and added his wife's last name to his own, when he got married on Vagran. And since the second of his two first names is the one his nickname came by, it's probably the best idea to refer to him as Bluestar Shykrill, should you want to shorten it. And yeah, I know - it's complicated and confusing.

    As for his life changing to a huge extent - [hl=black]maybe not now...[/hl]

    The answer is yes. The solari crystals come from Sacorria, but these here are a special kind. And their story is secret.

    Roula has less morals than a port prostitute. Seriously. And...you will see.

    Koobs is not safe anywhere, given his, err, eccentricities, but with Anra around to calm him down, perhaps he is. And there is more to Dadanna than meets the eye! It just had to be revealed at the best moment possible.

    She is...slowly becoming an actual person underneath that robotic shell. Not that she has not been so before, but she was not showing her emotions much, given the environment she grew up in and everything that had happened to her recently.

    Didn't the "bang" happen two chapters ago? :eek:


    It will get even weirder. Does that help? :p

    "Dumped in the mess" is a great description for err...pretty much everything in this story. Like, holy kriff.

    A Duchess dragging him around...and HE ISN'T EVEN A DRALL. Now, that's what true authority looks like.


    I am not saying that he will surface elsewhere, buuuut...

    And I wouldn't mind your eccentric OC kicking his butt at any given point. :D Because folks like Geelmen (run that through any anagram tool and see what happens) deserve to die a horrible death.

    You're the second person to point this out and I guess that this could be controversial, but back when I was writing this, some illustrations of Selonians were showing them with longer legs, some with shorter. So, I went for the earlier. I would, of course, imagine that a Queen looks different.

    And he's an action hero type who might have ended up in the wrongest of the wrong universes.

    That one was...challenging. And had he been from some other Corellian Sector planet, he wouldn't have been so extreme about expressing it, but given that Selonia is a closed society...

    I laughed at this bulleted list comments. They're kind of in-character. Deadpan, but with humour underneath. :D Just like your written work.
     
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  19. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    13. The Daring Ones

    Anaslinea-Hoc, Vagran – 20 minutes later

    Ebe had woken up during the short flight from Saccorata to Anaslinea-Hoc. He could not utter a word. His eyes were open wide, his pupils smaller than a pinhead and he was shivering. Doria was the first to notice that he was no longer sleeping and she sat by his side.

    “Does this have anything to do with you, mom? Did you stun his vocal cords too?” She asked Maris.

    “Don’t be ridiculous.” Maris crossed her arms. “Have you seen how stupid my daughter is, Talon?”

    “It’s Charon.” The musician was doing his best to remain polite, something that he never thought he would have been capable of. “And the dralling is in a worrying state.”

    “There is hope, little one.” Dadanna turned away from the controls for a moment, just to run her fingers through Ebe’s fur. “You are in good hands." She got out of hyperspace and a lush green and blue planet popped up in front of them, slowly taking over the front viewport. She navigated to the Kaz'aan Bay, preparing the Whisperer for landing.

    The Vagran spaceport looked incredibly small. Doria looked through the side viewport and wondered if the place seen across the grove from the belt was, in fact, deserving of a spaceport. Or Vagran, for that matter. The tiny town under a hill had what seemed to be a perfect trapezoid shape, apart from the lane just next to the seaside. Yet there was something radically un-Vagranite about it. Then again, when was the last time she had gone to Vagran? Must have been at least five years!

    "How in the name of the First Triad am I supposed to live here?" Maris snapped. "How does one live in a non-progressiv..."

    "You will be in good hands.” Charon patted her on the shoulder, much to his own surprise. “In fact, I cannot think of a better town for you. Anaslineans are all about love, love and more love. They’re the kind of people who hug random strangers."

    "Just what I needed. More unnecessary kindness.” Maris pointed to an enclosure on the seaside. “Is that a…sarlacc over there?" "I thought those didn't really exist and that they were a myth..."

    Doria looked at a piece of flimsi in her hand. "According to the leaflet I got from comrade Glisse when I accepted to relocate, the sarlacc on Vagran is of unknown origin and is on a special diet. Whatever that means.”

    Maris crossed her arms again. “I knew that.”

    “No, you didn’t?!”

    By the expressions the two were sporting, Charon could easily tell that this was not the first time Doria had caught her mother lying about something trivial. He decided not to get involved, as Ebe’s state of mind was far more worrying than anything else.

    "How come we have not seen it before?” Doria continued. “We used to vacation on Vagran, just not here. The spaceport was in the very centre of Abatore, on a large platform."

    “Sometimes, the most interesting of things are closer than we think.” The voice came from the pilot seat. “We’re about to land, so…Charon, are you going to hide again?”

    “Good joke. Not.” The singer scratched the side of his nose. “I’m not you. Not many people have heard of me. That said, it’s probably a good idea that you don’t get out at all. People are much more likely to recognise you and they will wonder what are you doing here, hours after a riot took place.”

    Dadanna nodded. She landed right at the line separating the spaceport from the sea and helped the group get their belongings out. She had to be back on Sacorria before anybody would notice that she was gone. After all, she had an interview and it could possibly lead to an exclusive, confessional book about last night – a story that she would have to modify a lot, but a good story, nevertheless.

    There was only one employee waiting at the spaceport, a middle-aged man with a cigarra in his mouth. He greeted the quintet the only way he knew.

    Well come to Vagran!”

    Doria was absolutely sure that he pronounced that as two words. Maris ignored him and pushed the smoke away with her hands. Charon shook his head and picked Ebe himself. If Human heads had been detachable, these two would have forgotten them.

    A small figure with black glareshades and silver hair was waiting for the group to go through the decontamination facility. Her dress style seemed to be in a sharp contrast with her age – she wore a pink and black colour-block dress with a matching pink headscarf.

    "Doria! Maris! Finally! I have not seen you for a couple of years now! And…who are the handsome lad and the adorable little youngling?" She stood there, in disbelief. "Which one of you got married to this gorgeous specimen and adopted a Drall? And why didn't you tell me so? My speeder is over there!"

    She proceeded to shake the musician's hand, giving him a wink.

    "Charon, this is Larax Antilless, my late grandmother's younger sister. Larax, this is Charon…we met him yesterday. And Ebe is, err…Branna’s nephew."

    “Oh.” Larax frowned. “Sorry, Charon. But take that as a compliment!”

    Charon was, needless to say, confused. Larax wore a hairband that he had seen on Selonians on Sacorria earlier, yet she clearly had only one last name.

    "Young man, are you wondering about my headband, perchance? Well, my story is quite a curious one. I was born on Sacorria, so was my husband. But the system over there didn't like the idea of…"

    "In other words, my great uncle Denaro was a Selonian." Doria cut Larax's story short. "And that is why we could not have revealed that we do have accommodation on Vagran to Code:Blue."

    “Out of all possible Sacorrians, I end up stuck with you…” The wailer said, with a sigh. “Is this…your…speeder…oh. Oh.”

    And it was only then that he realised that Larax's bright pink speeder had only three seats. Doria took Ebe in her arms and Maris had to share her seat with Charon – which neither of them liked.

    "So, three days ago, I was a normal Sacorrian, working and minding my own business. Now I am heading to some stupid place and sitting on a scoundrel's lap."

    Larax turned around. "Oh, shut up, Mar. Maybe he should have sat on your lap."

    “Aunt Larax, you’re piloting this vehicle!” Doria reminded her.

    "I blame Doria for this." Maris continued. "Had she worked hard enough to be a red shirt, she would've been accepted to Dorthus Tal University and none of this would have happened."

    "Don't start this again, Mar. I warned you. Dodo is the only child in our family and…"

    Charon took a deep breath. “Can you argue some other time? We really need to get to the temporary headquarters of my assault team.”

    “Oh.” Larax went again. “And where is that? I thought we were going to my place in Abatore!”

    …​

    Five minutes later, the group stopped in front of a gigantic hedge. Three women were waiting for them – two standing still and one, visibly younger and taller than they, pacing around. The speeder’s arrival caught her by surprise. Then her face lit up.

    “Sweetcorn!”

    She rushed and picked up Charon in her arms as if he were a youngling’s toy, proceeding to kiss him on the lips. Maris stuck up her nose, Larax raised her eyebrow and the others just stood there, not quite realising what was going on.

    And then Doria opened her mouth wide enough to swallow a small freighter. The curly-haired girl seemed very familiar from a bunch of holos she had seen over the past year. She let Larax hold Ebe, walked up to the couple and absent-mindedly pushed Charon away.

    "It cannot be... BlaseTreeGoatAU?"

    "SeaMadeofGlass?" Deeina nearly dropped Charon. "H-how?" She turned to him again. "Did you trace my HyperYak mate? Are you absolutely ixxl poodoo mad...Sweetcorn?"

    "She cannot be mad at me if she calls me ‘sweetcorn’!" Charon winked at a confused Doria. "Well, I couldn't know how exactly they would attempt to get rid of me. This thing with the Doloria, I could not see it coming!"

    Doria’s expression was back to the resting Duros face. "I...I don't understand anything."

    "I do, don’t worry. My boyfriend almost had you killed last night."

    "My mother attempted to kill me herself, a couple of hours later.” Doria pointed to Maris. “What's your point?"

    Deeina smiled sheepishly. She could not recall the last time somebody did not attempt to physically hurt her and Charon after a wacky scheme that he had come up with on the fly and never told her about failed. Her chat mate, the only thing she had from a real adolescence as a spy, was right there, before her. And however that had come to be, she appreciated it.

    "I like you, SeaMadeOfGlass. I really do."

    "It's Doria Vorr of...of...never mind."

    "Deeina Ferry, of the Alliance to Restore the Republic."

    "What?" Doria, Maris and Larax said in unison.

    "Charon, just what exactly did you tell her?” Deeina put her arms on her hips. “Did you tell her anything other than your name?"

    "No."

    "Figures...this will be a long story. Longer than I thought it would.”

    One of the other two women, a thin angleberry blonde in her late twenties wearing white, coughed and poked Deeina in the shoulder.

    “Oh. Sorry. Everybody, this is my friend, Morusalba Kaeni.” Deeina’s remark was met with a sigh. “I mean, you should call her Emy, for short. The manager of what you see here. And this is her mother, Laoda. The owner of what you see here.”

    “You own the Galaxy’s largest bush?” Larax shook Laoda’s hand in an almost ecstatic manner. “That’s so, so, so exciting!”

    Emy rolled her eyes. She surveyed the group. The other two women who had just arrived were far less expressive than the old lady, thank Goddess. In fact, they were just like her, not expressive at all. What was that face called again? She gestured to the group to get under the hedge and they stepped onto what appeared to be a terrace covered in apex trees.

    “Wow, beautiful!” Larax continued to stumble around in awe, nearly tripping over on duraplast tables and chairs scattered around. “And it’s all yours?”

    A Selonian in an apron stopped the group. He seemed pretty unfazed by Larax’s behaviour. After all, a couple of days on Vagran were enough for him to know what kind of a planet this was.

    "I am going to take this, if you don't mind."

    “You can take whatever you want.” Larax responded with a subtle wink.

    “I rather wouldn’t, thank you.” He turned away and proceeded to pick up Doria and Maris’ belongings.

    Maris was quick to protest. “What, we’re supposed to get an apartment! I don’t want to live in a gigantic bush.”

    “I only know the rough outline of what happened last night, but our cell’s intelligence advised against it.” Deeina pointed to Laoda. “This is the safest place for you right now, until we figure out how to escort you to the Outer Rim.”

    “She is the…intelligence?” Larax cocked her head and looked at the kind-faced woman who seemed to be of her age. Unlike her, Maris was furious.

    “Outer Rim? But my job! Her studies…Doria, did you arrange this in order to get a gap year?”

    “Mistress Vorr…” Deeina attempted again. But there was no use.

    “It’s lovely, this place!” Larax put her arm across her niece’s shoulders. “I am totally going to stay here for a couple of days myself! Can I, Mistress Intelligence? Can I?”

    Laoda shrugged and pointed to Emy.

    “Brother Valorum instructed us to give separate rooms on different floors to Sister Vorr and Sister Inesedam-Vorr. He will share the room with Sister Ferry. You can join Sister Inesedam-Vorr I guess. You missed breakfast, but I am going to get you some rotisserie small ibbot. And don’t smoke!” She abruptly stopped, seeing that Charon was about to light a cigarra.

    “Okay, okay…sorry!”

    “Thank you.” Emy nodded her head and took out a cigarra pack out of her pocket.

    “Wait, you smoke!” Charon was now protesting. Deeina gestured to him to keep quiet.

    Emy finished her speech and pointed to the curly girl. “We are going to talk about what’s next for us to do tonight. Deeina?”

    “Yes. We are going to need a lot of luck and help from everybody we know to get out of this situation. There are only two sources where we could obtain what we needed and neither of them worked so far. Let’s hope that the cell working with Bothans is smarter than we are. And that somebody survives, unlike what was the case the last time around.”

    “The last time around…when…what?” Doria asked, but everybody ignored her.

    Emy and Laoda were nodding along as the speech progressed. Charon looked worried, but at some point, he mumbled something along the lines of “yeah, Bothans”.

    “But none of this would have been a problem hadn’t I, I mean, if ‘Dryxa Farr’ hadn’t convinced Blobbo the Hutt that she would trade Sweetcorn…sorry, newbies, that she would trade Charon San Valorum for the location, we wouldn’t have got the location. But nobody, nobody expected things to go wrong on Sacorria. Mom and dad…sorry, CraterLass13 and Foggy…they swore that the plan to get an expert that could help us off the planet would work. But the expert was absent by the time we got there and now we, Anra and Koobs have been captured…and we are stuck with three beings who witnessed a huge carnage. This confuses me…”

    “An expert?” Doria clutched her hands. “For what exactly?”

    “Blobbo. What a horrible name.” Maris stuck up her nose. “Sounds like a complete slob, if you ask me.”

    “We wishes he weres one.” Laoda spoke for the first time. “Blobbo…complete monster he are!”

    “But luckily,” Emy added, “a good deal of the town is against him and what he’s been doing to us over the course of the last 16 or 17 years or so. I don’t even remember how it used to be like before he came along. All of those people also support the Rebel Alliance. There’s a battle going on at – at…”

    “Hoth.” Deeina jumped in to help her friend.

    “Yes, Hoth. And whatever is going on there seems to be alarming. We need to watch out, uspeople here are on the Rebels' side.”

    This got Doria curious. "Is there anybody here who isn't? How is she" – she pointed to Deeina – “alive otherwise?”

    "Well, yes. About three quarters of the town. We also have a strong base of supporters of the Empire, as well as people working for Blobbo the Hutt. But they’re all newcomers. We would never ever support something that is inherently wrong. You know what happened to our ancestors.”

    Larax was curious again, but she was just about smart enough to understand where she was not supposed to speak. Whatever had happened to these people’s ancestors, she was sure they would have brought it up themselves, sometime.

    …​

    Dorthus Tal Prison, Dorthus Tal Island, Racottia, Sacorria

    The two representatives from the Ministry of Defence and two admirals of the Sacorrian Navy were summoned for a meeting with Their Leaderships in the Interrogation Room of Dorthus Tal Prison. There was no word from the Imperial liaison officer to CorSec, Kirtan Loor, who was supposed to arrive from Coronet City later that day to join their meeting and, possibly, the interrogation.

    The overly serious Comradette Nola Katisver and her workmate, Comrade Jhorn Risant, were not quite sure why they been recruited to this briefing while they had better things to do – comfort their frightened children who were pulled out of the crowd minutes before the news of a possible terrorist attack. Sure, they had risked being demoted if they didn’t appear, but this was one of the times when they wondered what the priorities should have been in the first place.

    On the other side of the blast doors, Admiral Gordi Gauree stood by the suspect and the two criminals against Progress and Unity, with her frequent partner in missions for the Empire and secret lover, Admiral Roko Porkley. They had met through their sons, Dak and Glaunder, who had both recently completed the course for agricultural managers at FAIS.

    The three prisoners were trapped in energy fields – one Human, one Duros and one Ortolan. Despite this, a couple of Selonian thugs were still holding them. All three looked too much alike – which was what the Ortolan prisoner noticed at some point, too, and got his third stun for that. At this point, however, the military folk were more interested in the Human.

    “He does not look like somebody who could orchestrate anything.” Porkley said. “In fact, he looks like somebody who cares only about…the most basic of the instincts, which we, the disciplined comrades, frown upon.”

    Just then, Brigada, the intelligence officer, brought the legislators in. Katisver and Risant nodded their heads at Gauree and Porkley and the Drall updated the civilians on the state of things. By this point, the Drall regretted having transferred her much-needed leave to comrade Glisse.

    She first pointed to the prisoner Koobalt Nubes. "This one was stunned over using profanities in relation to Saygos and he was making inappropriate references to your daughter, comrade Risant. The other one, err, stunned himself. The last one, the suspect related to the organisation of the bombing, claimed that he was not guilty and he was generally unpleasant to both me and Comradette Prett...Comradette Dadanna Sarkle."

    “Thank you for the update.” Nola gave Brigada a thumbs-up. “But what do we know about the causalties? To my understanding, and as per the reporter submitted by Comrade Zhoorka – where is he, by the way…he sure isn’t the only one who’s late today, but for Sacor’s sake, I don’t like him – there were two causalties of the Doloria terrorist attack last night!”

    The two admirals shrugged and looked at Brigada again. She turned on the projector and soon holograms of two Humans appeared on the desk before the quarter.

    "So, by our understanding, comrade Valorum and the girl – we preliminarily identified her as Doria Vorr – are the casualties you’re speaking of. We think that the Doloria were irritated by Comrade Valorum's views, but there's something odd about it. They are a terrorist group, after all. Why would they be against the views that support their enemies and the bringers of peace – the Galactic Empire and the Sacorrian Triad? But either way, prisoner Nokaarbe is associated with them and we had a tip that he was the Rebel agent we were looking for. Hmmm...Rebels and Doloria…"

    "Doria Vorr? That's Tendra's friend!" Jhorn Risant recognised the name. "My daughter is not going to take that well! That girl gave her a ticket for this event and I know how much she wanted to see..." He stopped right before mentioning the name of the suspect. "Brigada, any news on that post-mortem in Curheg?"

    "Nothing yet. They don't have very much to use for identification, but we expect the results to be revealed within two days." Brigada crossed her arms.

    "Not sorry at all. She had some inappropriate relations with my son!" Roko Porkley pointed to the holo. "And she hangs around our younglings way too much."

    Nola Katisver rolled her eyes. "You sure know what inappropriate relations are, Roko." She gave a knowing look to Gordi as well. "And where are your younglings, given that you're so big on discipline? Jan is in shock and he's saying some really strange things, but where are your boys?”

    "We sent Glaunder to his favourite resort before this even happened - we did not want poor baby to be anywhere near..."

    "Yeah, I know, Roko. Gordi, where is your son?"

    Admiral Gauree was getting defensive at this point. "Nola, I thought he was with your son. They were supposed to have a sleepover, weren't they? With Tendra?"

    "There is no way I would allow my daughter to have a sleepover anywhere near Dak!" Jhorn Risant looked at Gordi Gauree. "One can see where he got his predator tendencies from. And of course a decent young comrade like Jan was covering up for him!"

    Nola liked that. Not many people were saying that about Jan.

    "Yes, we can totally see how that happened. Right, Gordi and Roko? Either way, since Dak is not with Jan and, thankfully, not with Tendra, where could he be?"

    “Probably waving his his military-mom card somewhere.” Jhorn Risant said, sotto voce. “Just watch him come back home in the afternoon, unaware of what happened to his friends.”

    “What did you say, Risant?”

    “Since when do you not call me by my name, Gauree?”

    Brigada turned around and let a deep sigh out of her chest. She was now sure – she really, really needed a vacation. And she had to stop these comrades and comradettes from arguing before Their Leaderships’ interrogation and the arrival of Kirtan Loor. Not to mention that she had no idea where Loor was, same for Comrade Zhoorka of CESA.

    “Comrades and comradettes. Be quiet!”


     
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  20. Findswoman

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

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    OK, this is another one that I needed to read through a couple times just to make sure I understand everything, because it seems, in certain ways, that the plot is thickening up in complex ways. For one thing, we’re now at a certain very familiar inn in Anaslinea-Hoc, Vagran, which was an extremely important location in Letters Never Sent (a half generation or so before this), and it will no doubt prove to be an extremely important location in this story, too. Likely some very important connections between the two oeuvres are soon going to be forged.

    For another thing, we now have the revelation that Doria’s chatmate BlaseTreeGoatAU is none other than Deeina Ferry of the Alliance to Restore the Republic—and Charon’s girlfriend. Also, that some serious explaining will be forthcoming about the whole Doloria business, which I'll be eager to see, because I have been wondering about it ever since it happened some chapters back. (My impression is that the Doloria thing was a [hl=black]feint or diversion for something else...[/hl])Then this whole business of procuring the "expert"... I have a guess or two about that, but I'm still about as confused as Doria is at this point. Still, it's clear these A-H rebels are the real thing and are working hard in their cause... and knowing the bit that I do about their early history, I see exactly how it fits with their current cause. :)

    Great-Aunt Larax is funny. She’s a bit of a doofus in the way she suddenly jumps to conclusions about the relationship between Doria, Charon, and Eve. And more than a bit of one if she seriously thinks Laoda is the owner of the huge bush! (Though maybe that bush is something I should keep a closer eye on? Interesting things have come out of it before...) But she clearly has her heart in the right place, and it’s good to see that she’s sympathetic to Doria, her “Dodo.” [face_love] She's a pretty much perfect foil to Maris, and it will do Doria some good to have a non-Maris family figure on hand. Maris herself is just the "gift that keeps on giving" here with her constant blame of the situation on Doria and her inability to earn a red shirt... I sometimes wonder when Doria is just going to let her have it and tell her, in true Wodehouse fashion, not to talk rot. :p

    And now this interrogation session… well, I guess it’s typically Sacorrian that it ended up devolving into in-bickering between the interrogators! :p No idea whether that will be a lucky or unlucky thing for our three captives, though (and it seems very significant that none of the three have said anything at all in this scene—literally all of it was the interrogation team). Of course, that question may be totally moot if Kirtan Loor (a name that sounds familiar) and Their Leaderships are expected to show up… [face_nail_biting] The one beacon of hope is that Loor, at least, seems to be late—ditto Zhoorka (aka Code:Red).

    The intrigue keeps piling on—as always, looking forward to more whenever it’s ready! :)
     
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  21. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Ketchup-time! *does an Uma Thurman dance, I can move mountains, I can work a miracle etc etc* Thanks for reading and commenting!




    Yup, everything is coming together, slowly...

    You know me. I planned to troll a bit here, in case anybody ships Doria with Charon. [face_rofl] They are compatible as friends, but NOT lovers, by any means. He can be very rough, she can be very stubborn and all, while Deeina is a perfect match. :D I wanted folks to go NOOOOOOOOOOOOO WHAT U DID BIATCH, but it didn't 'appen.

    You are right. But who sent them and why? Who is the master plotter?

    They are, of course.

    And you probably know who it is...Charon came a couple of hours too late. :(

    You mean [hl='black']Jar Jar Binks?[/hl] :p

    The bush is good for camouflaging the [hl='black']Rebel base that the hotel is[/hl]. :D

    And Larax will find herself a friend here, obv. :p But dare I say he's smarter than her?


    We'll see. And yes, Larax FEELS, whatever it may look like. Maris THINKS and doesn't think right most of the time...of course they're foils, despite their love for each other AND Doria.

    Of course. ARGUMENTS ARE PROGRESSIVE. WHY ARE YOU USING THOSE SMILEYS? I KNOW ALL ABOUT YOUR FRAUD.

    ;)

    The only reason I'm being slow is that I have too.many.things I'm working on (Hi, Kurisan - Agi said "Agi!", too :p); otherwise this has had two more chapters written for quite a while.
     
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  22. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    So, commenting but I read a few days ago. Probably will confuse a few things. :p

    Very interested to see that Doria's Holonet penpal turned out to be a Rebel, and not just any Rebel but one whose name sounds familiar. (Though I seem to recall that the last name is common in some places, somehow I don't think it's a coincidence that she shares a last name with Lil's old friend?) LOL at Maris questioning whether her daughter somehow arranged for Sacorrian/Imperial/Rebel/whatever intrigue in order to get a gap year! [face_laugh]

    And we get to meet Larax -- the woman, the myth, the legend. :p Nice to see that she has such a caring side for "Dodo", even if she does seem to live in a somewhat different cosmos.

    Meanwhile, back on Sacorria... The band members should demand a refund; this isn't how interrogations work! Or maybe it is, maybe people give up all their secrets and/or pay good money to keep these head honchos from continuing to argue. [face_rofl] So very Sacorrian: silly in principle, yet utterly terrifying in person.
     
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  23. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Before responding to Kahara's comment, I would like to thank everybody who nominated this story in the 2017 awards. It's nominated in the category Best OT Story and whoever did it - you have cookies or something. :)




    The fact that you can remember this much with such perfection after a few days is impressive to me.

    Yup, it's common on Aurea, but nope - of course that this character's age and last name have something to do with the past. The thing is, does she even know about it herself?

    Because Maris!

    Everything is fine on planet Larax, no worries. :)


    Yup, one could say that interrogators are...interrogating each other?! :p And yes, it works in theory...but in practice...PAH. :D
     
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  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    14. The Two Moons

    Later that afternoon, the group gathered in Taliore’s spacious kitchen, located in the back of the building. Doria, with the still-terrified Ebe on her lap, felt like an outsider next to the Rebel agents, so she sat close to a curious creature with eyes on stalks, strange jaws and a long tongue that would occasionally grab something from a barrel full of fresh fish right underneath the window.

    “Can you stop doing this?” She poked the stranger in his upper arm.

    “Well, ex-squeeze me!” The stranger crossed his arms. “The ability to spake does not maken yousa intelligent!”

    “W…what?” Doria was baffled. Why was this…creature insulting her?

    Seconds later, he hit her on her back in what seemed to be friendly manner. “Mesa kidden! My mooie liken yousa! Mesa called Jar Jar Binks…”

    “Ummm…mesa called Doria Vorr.” She accepted the handshake.

    “I like him!” Ebe spoke for the first time since Maris had stunned him. “He’s so funny!”

    “Not when you have to deal with him every day, all day…” said the go-to man of the establishment, who eventually introduced himself as Soleo. “Then again, everybody here seems to have the appetite of an average rancor!”

    Maris and Larax were probably taking an afternoon nap, Doria thought. Or, better said, Larax was, while her mother was taking one of her “vacations from people”. But she understood her this time. Nearly half a day after they arrived on Vagran, nobody mentioned her studies or Maris’ job, and whatever they spoke about did not make much sense.

    Just then, somebody rang the antique bell at the reception.

    “Will be right back.” Emy got up and showed the other three to stop. “That’s strange, a customer at this time...”

    She came back no more than a minute later, with a small furry being in a red pantsuit.

    Doria and Ebe were speechless. Duchess Branna was alive, well and right before them!

    “Ebe! You are alive!” She walked up to the dralling and took him in her arms. “So glad I still have you!” They both broke down. “And she is going to pay for this!”

    Doria closed her eyes and shook her head at the thought of the carnage at House R’vanye the night before. Just then, Branna acknowledged her, too.

    “Thanks for saving him! It was you, right? Who else could it have been?”

    “It was mom.”

    “Maris? Saving other beings?” Branna abruptly stopped crying. “But nothing can surprise me anymore. Go get her, please!” She sat down, taking Ebe with her. Jar Jar Binks looked on, with a curious expression on his face.

    By the time it was dark, Branna shared her story with the group, which now included Maris and Larax as well, much to Soleo’s dismay. She had had “a contact of hers who owed her something” transfer her to the Vagran spaceport and then, in order not to appear too suspicious, she had changed her mind and went along to wherever he was going, then took a repulsortrain back to Abatore and hitchhiked to Anaslinea-Hoc. Deeina in particular was impressed by this. And then the conversation somehow died down and it was mostly the Sacorrians complaining about unrelated little things on their home planet.

    The quiet Selonian waiter was bringing more and more bantha cheese and bantha ham sandwiches. Doria and Deeina were curiously looking at each other, the latter holding Charon's hand in hers and occasionally making bed eyes at him. Laoda and Emy Kaeni were catering to Jar Jar Binks. Larax felt slightly bored, until Branna finally had said all she wanted to say and dropped a blast.

    "Roula is in the Triad!"

    The pink-clad woman stuck out her tongue. “I don’t like her! She had me expelled from the University back in the days. What a piece of korrak poodoo she is!”

    Charon was intrigued by this, too. “Wait, you know something, anything about the Triad? Isn’t that basically more complicated than, I don’t know, the story of the Celestials? How do you know…anything?”

    "How do I know?" Branna rolled her eyes. "I am a former Triad candidate, that’s how! Or at least I was!" She stopped for a moment, almost surprised by her own confession. “And of course, you’re not supposed to know this, let alone what I figured out about Roula. But from this point on, everything is fair game.”

    Charon followed with the same expression, slightly annoyed that it was no longer unique in the group. "So, should we be impressed? Scared? Both?"

    "The Duchess of Pelayn is Grandia and she lives in Sublata. I remember her from my University Days. One cannot be the Duchess and be in the Triad. When I was denied the next round of tests, I returned to my position as the Duchess prospect, for which I had completed my trials” – she looked Larax’s way – “as a young woman. And I settled for that. But looks like there may have been a plot to get rid of all of us all along, which included not having me eventually become Her Drallship, so I would not have the immunity...”

    Doria was intrigued. "This would make Gredda the R’vanye Duchess-to-be."

    “Yes, but Gredda’s trials were undertaken at AARIS and she was working on the kind of projects that had nothing to do with agriculture. So did your husband, Maris. Talking about early death associated with too much stress.” Branna glanced at the red-haired woman, who attempted to say something, but the words were just not coming out of her mouth. “And whatever she was involved with must have been more than I was able to discover, as I did not buy her explanation of a ‘secret project on the Centerpoint Station’ that she suddenly had to take up.”

    Deeina raised her index finger up. “You…you are the mother of our contact?”

    “The aunt. Wait…what kind of a contact is she?” Branna leaned her arms against the table. “Speak up, curly!”

    The group was silent. There were a couple of minutes of awkward silence.

    "Mesa so very confused." Jar Jar Binks shook his head and reached for another fish in the barrel. But he caught a crab and, seconds later, he was running around the kitchen, screaming. Emy got up and stopped him from running into a metal shelf crowded with various cooking utensils. She pulled the crab off his tongue, prompting him to scream and then repeat. “Mesa so very confused!”

    "So is we, Binks." Laoda Kaeni comforted the Gungan. "A couples of day ago, we was minding our businesses and now…this.”

    "Yeah, mom, you said it. Come last week, we were doing our regular thing – serving as triple agents. Now I don't understand anything anymore. Okay." Emy looked Doria’s way, mirroring her expressions. “We have an old politician in our undercaves and I’m teaching a Selonian to wait tables and…wear clothes...around our guests, at least.”

    Doria nodded. "Come last week, my best friend was still here and now she’s who-knows-where and everybody other than her aunt and her little brother is dead. I was applying for university until the 'of course' baby burp man made a mistake.”

    “You know the baby burp limmie player?” Emy’s face twisted into something vaguely similar to a smile. “He’s my favourite, you’re one lucky girl! I always wanted to have his autograph on the plasto-cork wall above the reception!”

    Deeina patted the two other women on their sounders. "I feel your pain, girls. Come earlier this week, I offered my boyfriend's head to Blobbo the Hutt."

    "What?" Doria, Soleo, Branna and Emy said at the same time. Larax and Laoda dropped their sandwiches, Jar Jar woke up from his sleep and fell off the chair, scaring Ebe.

    “Yeah, you all seem to be ignoring that little chunk of absurdity…and this was a reminder that we need to talk about that little issue, too. Now!”

    Other than Charon himself, Maris was the only person who didn’t seem surprised.

    “I did have such thoughts in the early phases of my relationship with Elesandre.” She said flatly. “Nice to meet some like-minded people.”

    Deeina shrugged. That was not what she had in mind.

    Doria swallowed a lump. “So…wait, let me get this straight.” Her monotonous voice was getting an emotional edge by every next sentence. “Laoda and Morus…Emy harbour fugitives and help Rebel Alliance agents hide. Charon, Blasetr…I mean, Deeina, you are both agents and you are also a couple. Charon was tasked with finding a contact who appears to be my best friend, Gredda, but he found her gone to a task that she told me she got an invitation for out of nowhere. At the same time, this is all related to some information withheld in some ‘blob hut’ and Doloria and the Imperial Stormtroopers were not a part of the plan…neither was I!”

    “You were a late addition to the plan.” Charon nodded his head and reached for the pack of cigarras again, solely to meet Emy’s disapproval once again. “It was a coincidence, Gredda mentioned that her young friend chats with a being using a silly nickname related to a species from an obscure Outer Rim system. And…”

    Branna clapped her hands. “And we were so kriffin’ stupid. There is no project on kriffin’ Centerpoint Station for an engineer working on plant fertilisation lasers. There’s no such a thing as plant fertilisation lasers! Gredda is working on some weapon of mass destruction! And she promised me never to get involved in that!”

    “That took you a while.” Charon said, with a shrug. “But there is such a thing as a Hutt working with certain Imperial agents and bounty hunters trading valuable information for people whom he can sell from one group to the other.”

    “So, it’s true?” Emy cocked her head. “There is another?”

    “Yes. There is another and I don’t think I’m crazy for thinking so. And it’s only through using me as a bait that we can…”

    Doria’s face pulled into a strange grimace once again. She got up from her seat next to the Gungan politician in exile and stormed out of the kitchen to the joint dining room-kitchenette-reception-lobby, then onto the porch and into the night.

    "Where yous going?" Laoda crossed her palms. “What’s wrong with your daughter?”

    Maris did not seem concerned. “She’s doing that again.”

    "Go after her!" Deeina pointed to Charon. “Please, Char!”

    Charon followed Doria onto the street lined with hotels, cafes and restaurants and passed through a couple of particularly crowded ones. He found her several hundred metres away, on a repulsorlift swinging ronto in the smallest park ever, a little further from the last establishment on the beach. She was sitting on the toy and staring up to where two Vagran’s moons seemed to be illuminating the very top of the Chiro Mountain, with only the lights of a makeshift biolumi-post for repulsorcrafts and fishermen’s boats continuing to flicker when the clouds would hide the celestial bodies.

    She noticed him approach her, but she was doing her best to focus on the light and ignore him until he blocked her view. He took a deep breath, patted whatever was in his pocket and put his elbows on the head of the plastisteel toy animal. She had no choice but to address him.

    “Don’t spoil my view of the stars, please.” She said. “You have done enough harm already.”

    “I told you it all happened accidentally. It’s destiny.”

    “Thanks to your alleged ‘destiny’, I am presumed dead and Dak is dead.”

    “Thanks to my alleged destiny, your mother won’t end up in jail for killing a Stormtrooper and then end up ‘accidentally’ murdered because she was the witness of the carnage!”

    Doria sighed and squirmed on the ronto toy, trying to push Charon off. But he seemed to be holding his balance just fine.

    “So, we’re stuck with you. And my harmless HyperYak chat-mate is a Rebel terrorist. In fact, you both are. And those two women…”

    “…are not terrorists at all. They’re regular beings affected by this awful war and the terror of Blobbo, whom they have to give half of their hard-earned credits. They were hiding me from the Empire for a couple of weeks last year, after Deeina threw a grenade and got the three of us out of the prison on her home planet, Aurea.”

    “Eh?”

    “Yes, she became a ‘terrorist’ overnight, too. A quiet, nice girl who wanted to become a glass worker, like her parents. And she fell for a pronker. If I survive tomorrow, I am going to propose to her. I made that decision after I survived yesterday.”

    This prompted Doria to snicker for a moment. She nodded. Marriage was a nice thing, probably. For those who had fathers and therefore could be allowed to be married. And, of course, for those who had significant others, which wasn’t the case with her. She sighed and looked at the sky again.

    "There are so many stars in the sky and Gredda could be anywhere."

    "No." Charon put his hand on her shoulder. "There are so many star systems in the sky and within a year or so, they will all be free of oppression once again." He stopped to try and count the stars in the sky, but he had never been good with constellations. “And the answer lies in precisely one of them. Tomorrow, we will hopefully know which one it is.”

    They were not saying anything for a moment, until he finally got up and sat on the black sand. She followed him.

    "You know what’s funny?” she said, pointing to the two moons again. “I once wrote a story with a moon called Charon, in a large, but barely inhabited star system in some backwards galaxy in far, far future. It was morbid, you know? By the time they realised we existed, our galaxy had long exploded, so all they saw was the light from dead stars. Then, as our galaxy reformed, whoever came after us saw the lights from their world...and guess what? They were gone. All we had was the light from their dead stars."

    "What was the star's name?"

    "Sol."

    "That is a stupid name." he paused and then added, "I like it! Sol...the story of Sol by Doria…wait, I just realised that I don’t know your and your mother’s last name."

    "It’s Vorr. You know, like Korr, but with V, because Sacorria is the world of peasants descending from prisoners and we can't spell. My father did not like this and told me never to talk about it to anybody. But now that he’s gone…I don’t care, I just tell people the truth.”

    “Did he pass away?”

    “Yes, he had a heart attack and didn’t make it.”

    "I don't have a father, either. He died months before I was born, in a dogfight."

    "The Empire?"

    "Yes, the Empire, at its very beginning. Just think about it.”

    "Was he a Rebel?"

    "There were no organised Rebel cells in the Core at the time. There was no civil war yet."

    Doria cocked her head and put her index finger on her chin. "There is an actual, full-scale war? We were not taught that on Sacorria."

    “No wonder. You are promised a hermetic world and you get an illusion of one. You live in a holographic simulation. We, the Empire-raised kids, are promised the world and we get pretty much nothing.”

    "Did you ever find out how and why it happened? Why was your dad in a dogfight?"

    "No." Charon was now sporting a visible frown. “But maybe someday. Once the war’s over, there will be so many things to uncover, including things like the death of some poor man named Pulott Valorum. He’s like that light from a dead star that you were talking about – insignificant.”

    Doria took a pebble and tossed it into the sea. And then she remembered something.

    "We need to go back to the hedge-hotel. Your girlfriend will think I'm in love with you or whatever."

    "You're so funny." Charon made a comical kiss impression and then stepped back. "Jealousy does not work that way. Besides…" He made a trumpet out of his hands, approached her as if he was to tell her a secret and, after she managed something resembling a smile, screamed in her ear. “…we all know you are in love with Nokaarbe!"

    Doria almost fell from the rock. She first opened her mouth wide and then, after some thinking, came back at her new friend, laughing.

    "Yeah, you will have to fight me if you want him that much! Wait that reminds me…what is going to happen to him? Where was the rest of his wailer-group, anyway?”

    “It was a prank. A diversion to distract your planet’s authorities from me and embarrass him a bit, but it was never meant to go that far.”

    “You prank people by framing them for terrorist attacks?”

    “Terrorist...you use that word a lot. I said that it was never meant to go that far. His group does not do anything for the Galaxy as whole, he only sings about his hundreds of girlfriends and pleasures of a life that many never had the chance to live under this oppressive rule.”

    “So, he had to learn the hard way?” Doria asked, getting up from the black sand.

    “Yes.” Charon nodded. “And since he gets to spend some time with Koobs while at it, he’s going to be pretty harmless in general...for a while.”

    “That’s a strange way of teaching somebody a lesson. Then again, if nothing else worked…”

    “See? You’re slowly learning how to think like a ‘terrorist’.” Charon made air quotes.

    They returned to Taliore. Laoda gave them both a hug and then directed them to their respective rooms. Once Charon got to his, Deeina was already sleeping. He changed to bedwear and covered himself over his head.

    The item from his pocket could finally get all the attention it deserved. It was apparently some sort of a very old sound recording device. And he struggled to find anything that could fit it in his girlfriend’s toolbox. Eventually, he found an ancient in-ear single-phone designed for some different species – he could not even determine which – that worked, though he had to keep his finger on the end of the jack.

    All he knew was that he was going to stay up all night, listening to this. If Gredda had left it behind in such an obvious place, then it was supposed to be found – but not by the Imperial Stormtroopers. It was going to be safe in his hands.
     
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  25. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    NEW TBS!!!!!!! [face_dancing]

    With Branna's arrival and all the goings-on at Chez ThesearenottheRebelsyourelookingfor, everyone has a lot on their plate in this chapter. I'm very glad to see that Branna and Ebe were able to reunite here. Those two have had the mother of all bad weeks and it's at least some comfort that they are not completely alone in their losses or in their new lives. @};-

    Can't remember if I knew this before, but yup. Agreed.

    That's a pretty good basis for knowing. It could be said of anyone at this gathering, but Branna has led a very strange life!

    The simple life of triple agents! :p

    Code:Blue, Ruiner of Everything, can never catch a break. ;)

    :eek: Well, it's not uncommon that characters are tapping into something more in their stories here... but wow. That's some range! I always love a good "Earth is somewhere" in relation to the GFFA, and this one was really well done.

    The conversation between Doria and Charon was lovely. I really liked how the story of another place's story about distant stars gave them a way to connect and see each other's point of view better, and it's just eerie and emotional as well. And it's good to see Doria making another friend too. Charon is going to be a good influence in some ways, even if his pranks need a lot of work. ;)

    Oh no! [face_rofl]

    Charon... I don't even know. [face_laugh] (If Koobs ever finds out, it's very possible that he's going to be SO MAD and I cannot blame him. :rolleyes:)

    Ooh, I think I know whose recording this is, since I'm pretty sure Gredda had a certain audio journal at one point. Should be interesting to say the least. :D
     
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