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Beyond - Legends The Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project (First Draft Challenge/Romantic Quotes Roulette)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Bel505, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Title: The Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project
    Author(s): Bel505 (Admiral Byzantium)
    Timeframe: New Republic Era
    Characters: Cray Mingla, Luke Skywalker
    Genre: Angst/Drama/Romance
    Keywords: Cray Mingla/Nichos Marr
    Summary: Because Cray deserved better.
    Notes: This was written for both the First Draft Challenge and the Romantic Quotes Roulette. I got Quote #5 months ago. I wasn't sure what to do with it for the longest time. Then... I had an idea and I wrote it. This is very probably going to require future extensive editing to fit it into the universe of Interregnum, since I have no idea if that universe is going to unfold as I've portrayed it here, but I do intend this to (more or less) occur in that universe. Also, I am 100% happy to receive constructive criticism, either here in the thread or via PM. Sentence structure, overall plot, backstory, anything and everything, go ahead and hit me. Also also I'm going to hit publish now to resist the urge to tinker and correct mistakes.

    Also, seriously, angst is not usually my thing.

    The Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project

    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

    How Do I Love Thee? -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Negotiator, the nascent Jedi Order’s mobile academy, was in orbit of the ancient world of Ossus. Directly above, the bronzed, scorched and burned world, decimated by supernovae millennia ago that had left the Great Jedi Library below near to ruin and the world that hosted it near to uninhabitable, turned slowly, its cloud networks coruscating with bluish-white light. There was much to find down there, and Negotiator had arrived to dispatch a team of archival and recovery droids which could operate in the remaining low-level radiation without risk, seeking out whatever it was there was left to find. Palpatine had, for whatever reason, left Ossus alone, and as such it remained perhaps the very last refuge of ancient, untainted Jedi knowledge.

    It was an incredible accomplishment, those droids. Networked together so they formed a single greater whole, able to scan and search with innumerable sensory tools that would be unlikely to harm whatever artifacts, holocrons, or texts they might happen across in their search. Able to power themselves by returning to Ossus’ surface, extending their solar panels and recharging in the sun, and communicate via their stationary Hypercom to the Smugglers’ Alliance’s FTL network in this part of the Outer Rim, so that Negotiator would be informed of any great discoveries during its own explorations of both the galaxy and the Force. It was the product of many years’ work, of effort and error, trial and triumph. It was the product of mastery.

    And the man who had been most responsible for it, her partner, her lover, her friend, had not lived to see it finished.

    Cray Mingla shuddered as the tears threatened to take her again. Negotiator was not typical of her class, slightly larger and more luxurious than the typical Mareschal-class Escort Carrier, because she had been built to be the mobile home of the Jedi Order. One of the luxuries that offered was the observatory garden that sat on the highest deck of the ship. Long transparisteel windows surrounded her on every side, curving up into a high, dome ceiling. The room itself was full of greenery, plants and insects and a handful of animals who had accommodated themselves to life aboard Negotiator, all surrounded her. Her gift for the Force had always been strong, and in that moment she could feel the undulation of life and change all around her. The water in the soil that provided sustenance for the uneti saplings that waited for their permanent homes; the tiny, gossamer wings of the bees that cheerfully avoided her; the green leaves of the large Fijisi tree that sat, extended, near the turbolift that would take her to the other parts of the ship. Life surrounded her, the Force surrounded her, energy offering itself freely for her to take, to shape, reform into something new.

    And none of it had been enough to save Nichos’ life. It had been all they could do to ease his suffering.

    “It’s all right, Cray,” he had said to her the last time they had been here. “It’s all right. You and I both knew this was coming. We’ve known it for a long time.” He took her face in his hands, and for once the pain was smoothed from his lips and he looked as she remembered him, calm and poised. “We were lucky to have the time we were given, we both know that.” He had kissed her then, and she had cried, as she was crying now.

    Out the window the engines of the prepared transport, carrying the droids she and Nichos has toiled to build together, flared to life. It streaked downwards, curving through one of those coruscating clouds, shimmering with blue-white light. And then, like Nichos, it too was out of sight. She knew it was landing now, then unloading its droids, dispersing them to begin the hunt, but the only evidence she had of them was the toll they had left on her fingers when she assembled the prototypes, the scars. She looked at those hands, otherwise unblemished, remembering how Nichos’ had curled with agony as his disease progressed, infecting organ after organ, tearing the heart out of her love, until all that was left was the pain.

    This, today, ought to be a crowning achievement. The University would offer her a doctorate for her accomplishment with the Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project, if she didn’t have one already. But there was no celebration to be had here, no joy. All around her the Force started to darken, because it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair! How dare the universe torment her this way! Why give her happiness at all if it was just going to take it away in the most excruciatingly painful, laboriously elaborate way possible. Why give her the Force if it was just going to use it to demonstrate unambiguously the horror of Nichos’ condition, without also giving her the ability to help him!

    The darkness relaxed around her. She let it go, and she cried.

    She didn’t hear the whisper-quiet sound of the turbolift opening, or the light footsteps across the dirt floor of the observatory garden. She did hear Luke Skywalker sit next to her, cross-legged, apparently not minding that he was getting dirt on his Jedi outfit, despite the fact that he no longer wore black. His white and brown robes, were a recent affectation; he had left the brown cloak elsewhere.

    She sniffled miserably, feeling stupid and weak.

    “No, don’t,” Luke murmured. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

    The words were enough to send her into another burst of tears. She fell against Luke’s shoulder, sobbing, and he wrapped an arm around her, letting her cry. When she had regained the ability to speak, realizing that she was imposing her grief on Luke Skywalker, the galaxy’s noble hero, who surely had better—

    “No,” Luke said quietly. “I don’t. I have nothing in the galaxy better to be doing than to be here, right now.” He offered her a ghost of a smile. “You’re my student. And even if you weren’t, you’re a being in pain, and you are here, and so am I.” He paused, letting her wipe her eyes.

    “I’m sure you’ve never cried like this,” she mumbled, tasting the salt on her lips.

    “You’d be wrong,” Luke said. “After Yavin, when the reality of all that had happened finally sank in, I cried for days. I tried not to, I wanted to look strong for Han and Leia, especially Leia because she’d lost Alderaan and didn’t cry anywhere near as much.” He looked up, watching Ossus turn, the clouds shivering with blue-white bioluminescence. “Chewbacca sat with me. He couldn’t even speak with me then, but he just sat with me and let me cry.” He squeezed her shoulders. “If you want to cry, then you should cry.”

    Cray sniffled again. “It’s not fair,” she said miserably, for the moment cried out. “It’s not.”

    Luke took a deep breath. “No,” he agreed softly. “It’s not.” When she didn’t speak again, he didn’t press her; instead, they watched together as Ossus, the center of all her efforts for these past years, all her trials, her life with Nichos and the object of all her goals, slowly turned. “How did you get past it?” she asked.

    “I’m not sure I did,” Luke said. “In some ways the memory of Beru and Owen grows more vivid each year. What would they be doing today, what would they think of all that has happened. I find myself in quiet moments, wishing they were here; that Aunt Beru and I could make ahrisa again, or Uncle Owen would wake me up before the crack of dawn to get the vaporators operating.” He took a deep breath. “But something Yoda told me once helps me sometimes, at least. All is one, in the Force. The Force is all life, not just all life that is, but all life that was, and all that will be.”

    Cray nodded, not feeling better.

    “Why don’t you tell me about him?”

    And she did. She told him how they met, as students at the Magrody Institute. How they’d shared the same advisor; how she’d found him insufferable at first, because of his tendency towards bravado. How she realized that his bravado was his own way of covering for his insecurities. How he’d convinced her that she was good enough, even as she’d done the same for him. How together they realized that she possessed a Force-gift, and how he’d been the one to convince her to pursue it, despite her initial reluctance. How he’d always known what she was thinking, what she wanted or needed. How his illness had first manifest, subtly at first but rapidly growing worse. How they’d tried droid components to forestall its progression, but even with captured Ssi-ruuvi technology their efforts had only ever been partially successful. How she’d grown more and more desperate to save him until he’d finally taken her aside, held her hands, and told him that he wanted to enjoy his last days as best he could, with her, working on something they both loved.

    And so they’d finished the Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project, and then he had died before they could launch it. By hours.

    Luke listened, quiet and attentive, smiling when she smiled and laughing when she laughed. On occasion, even crying when she cried. It didn’t make her feel better, exactly, but she could feel passion returning and the Force met her passion with its own. “He said he just wished he’d lived long enough to see me become a Jedi,” she said softly.

    “I think he did,” said Luke.

    That made her cry again, and Luke let her, and when she had reached the end of her tears once again she thought maybe he was right.




    When Luke returned to their quarters Mara met him with open arms. He buried his head in her shoulder and she held him. “Will she be okay?” Mara asked.

    “I think so,” Luke said with a heavy sigh. He drew back, his blue eyes measuring and adoring, his hands sliding around her waist to draw her close. “It will take time and care, but I think so.” His thumb grazed against her cheek. “I love you.”

    Mara nodded.

    “You know we live dangerous lives,” he continued seriously.

    “You more than me,” Mara said, thinking of any number of times he’d taken one risk or another that could have been avoided.

    “Nichos made sure she knew exactly how he felt,” Luke continued. “I think it’s helping her, now. Knowing just how much he loved her. And that he knew just how much she loved him.”

    Mara nodded again.

    Luke leaned in and kissed her gently. “So—”

    “No, don’t you dare,” she tried to stop him—

    “So,” he persisted, “I want you to know just how much I love you.”

    “Skywalker!”

    He kissed her again, slow and adoring, and she melted into the embrace and kissed him back, cursing him all the way. Damn Jedi and his… but her protests died away as their Force-senses intermingled, letting that which was him and that which was her tightly merge until they were as a single being, inextricable and one, and she knew again just how much he loved her and that forever was not just another word.
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Your talent for describing and immersing the reader in the scene and the emotions is definitely in evidence here.

    Luke's unfailing empathy is beautiful to read as was this:

    He kissed her again, slow and adoring, and she melted into the embrace and kissed him back, cursing him all the way. Damn Jedi and his… but her protests died away as their Force-senses intermingled, letting that which was him and that which was her tightly merge until they were as a single being, inextricable and one, and she knew again just how much he loved her and that forever was not just another word.

    Delicious!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
    Bel505 likes this.
  3. mavjade

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

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    This is beautiful! I love the idea and descriptions of the Negotiator! That's something I'd love to see visually, it was beautiful in my mind the way you described it.
    There were so many things I loved! Luke is so sweet and knows exactly how to help, to ask about Nichos and let he tell a beloved story of him. How he talked about how Chewy was the one to sit with him and let him cry, and telling her Yoda's wise words.

    Fantastic job!!
     
    Bel505 and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  4. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    And to think, instead of a nice and perfectly reasonable scene like this, we got CotJ...

    Thank you for making everyone involved nice and normal people. Here, at least, Cray and Nichos might have been faced with tragedy, but they didn't go off the deep end. Nichos died with dignity and Cray will manage to overcome her grief and get on with life. No transferring consciousnesses into droids and somehow just abandoning one's own body to make room for a disembodied spirit stuck in a computer (are you even kidding me, EU). And Luke is a good listener and cares about helping his student (instead of wildly transgressing boundaries; I cannot see the whole Callista thing as anything else). I love that it was Chewie who just sat with Luke when he needed it. And that Luke had Mara to comfort him after the emotional toll of comforting Cray. The quote fits Cray and Nichos well, too. Excellent job all around :)
     
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  5. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Hell yes. I honestly don't even remember if I read CotJ all the way through, oh, 20 years ago now? If I did, I banished most of it from my brain. But anyway. Hell. Yes.

    Excellent descriptions of the Negotiator and of Nichos and Cray's work on Ossus. You made it very easy to picture. :)

    I love this. [face_love] It may not have made Cray feel better, but it hit me right in the feels. :p

    There's our empathetic Luke. I think that's one of the most powerful things you can do for someone, to just be there with them as they struggle through their pain, not minimizing their loss or the depth of their emotions, but sharing their grief in whatever way you can. Luke is such a perfect example of this here with Cray.

    Thank you for sharing this! An impressive first draft for sure! =D=
     
  6. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Thank you! I'm glad it worked. I really ... angst is not my favorite thing to read, like, at all. But these challenges keep pushing me to go with angst...

    I've done some editing to smooth out the first part of the story (there are some complicated pronouns) and I'm not really sure if it works better or not, Instead of starting with the ship I start with Cray, and that alters how I parcel out the descriptions of the ship. Hopefully I didn't break anything...

    I haven't touched this part of it yet. I've been busy fighting with a scene I'm probably going to add to Interregnum at my coauthor's request... But the Luke/Mara part of this still doesn't feel right to me, and I'm not sure why, and I'm not sure how to fix it. I think maybe it's too cheery after the first half? Or it's too abrupt? I know I want to keep it, because I do think it's a nice complement to the first half, but something still feels broken to me here and I don't quite know what it is.
    I went back and re-read bits and pieces of it to try to get characterization for Cray. Ugh. Just ugh. Poor Cray, Cray deserved so much better.
    So this is my favorite part of the story too, because it's a paraphrase of something that I tell myself whenever I get all existential dread-y. That happened a lot when I was younger, but hasn't really happened since then. Philosophy degrees are good for some things, as it turns out...

    And yes. This is what I wanted. In CotJ Cray is desperately sad, to the point where it becomes extremely dire, and no one comes to help her. It's exploited, rather ruthlessly, instead. So, here's what happens if Luke does, and does it right, being the Luke we know and love. And yes, I don't know how, or under what circumstances, but in the Interregnum-verse Cray Mingla is going to become a great Jedi, because Cray deserved better.

    Okay, second draft time. The first draft had a few problems, and since we're doing a "first draft challenge" maybe it's helpful to others to point them out:

    (1) The first two paragraphs of this were a mess. I had my geography all upside down and backwards; the observatory was originally going to be on the bottom of the ship, not the top, then I realized that would be awkward to look down through a dome beneath you and flipped the ship upside down, and it never fully came together.
    (2) Then it takes forever to introduce Cray, and by the time I do I've already been referring to her, but I've also introduced the ship which makes my use of the "her" or "she" pronouns messy and confusing, especially the line about Nichos.
    (3) There's some confusing other stuff, basically from me being uncertain about exactly the circumstances taking place here. How long has it been since Nichos died? Does Cray have her degree already? And it's unnecessarily disruptive; those are the kinds of things I need to have clear in my head. I often don't in a first draft, hence the messiness here; now, I go through, I see each problem, I decide how to fix the ambiguities, and I fix them. Ideally then I make notes so that I don't forget later, especially if it's one part of a longer piece - but this isn't, so there's no immediate need to do that.

    That leads to this second draft:



    The Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project (Draft 2.0)

    Cray Mingla curled her legs underneath her. Negotiator’s observation garden was serene: long transparisteel windows surrounded her on every side, curving up into a high dome ceiling that brought robust starlight in. The garden was full of greenery, plants and insects and a handful of animals who had accommodated themselves to life aboard a spacecraft; life surrounded her.

    She stared up through that transparisteel dome. The planet above her, casting reflected light down into the dome on a backdrop of stars, was the world of Ossus, its bioluminescent clouds glittering with inner blue light. A bronze sphere, gleaming in the dark, it had been home to an ancient Jedi Temple and the Great Jedi Library. They had all been abandoned, millenia ago, after multiple supernovae had flooded the system with radiation. It was possible for humans to tread upon Ossus’ soil, but an extended stay would be hazardous even to a Jedi. Palpatine had seemingly left Ossus alone, and as such it remained perhaps the very last refuge of ancient, untainted Jedi knowledge.

    That was why Negotiator was here. The nascent Jedi Order’s mobile home, Negotiator carried in her cargo holds a team of hundreds of excavation and archival droids. Networked together so they formed a greater whole, able to scan and search with flexible sensory tools that would not harm whatever artifacts, holocrons, or texts they might happen across in their search, and immune to radiation, they were ideal for this task. They could operate near-indefinitely, thanks to their ability to power themselves by returning to Ossus’ surface, extending their solar panels and recharging in the sun, and then communicate their finds via their stationary hypercom to the Smugglers’ Alliance’s FTL network in this part of the Outer Rim.

    The droids were a product of many years work, of effort and error, trial and triumph. They were the product of mastery. And the man who had been most responsible for it—her partner, her lover, her friend—had not lived to see it finished.

    Cray shuddered as the tears threatened to take her again. Her gift for the Force was strong, and she could feel the undulation of life and change all around her. The water in the soil that provided sustenance for the uneti saplings that waited for their permanent homes; the tiny gossamer wings of the bees that cheerfully buzzed around the room; the green leaves of the large Fijisi tree that extended its expansive branches, filling the space near the turbolift. Life surrounded her, the Force surrounded her, energy offering itself freely for her to take, to shape, reform into something new.

    And none of it had been enough to save Nichos’ life. It had been all they could do to ease his suffering.

    “It’s all right, Cray,” he had said to her the last time they had been here. “It’s all right. You and I both knew this was coming. We’ve known it for a long time.” He had taken her face in his hands, and for once the pain was smoothed from his lips and he’d looked as she remembered him, calm and poised. “We were lucky to have the time we were given, we both know that.” He had kissed her then, and she had cried, as she was crying now.

    Out the window the engines of the prepared transport, carrying the droids she and Nichos had toiled to build together, flared to life. It streaked downwards, curving through one of those coruscating clouds, shimmering with blue-white light. And then, like Nichos, it too was out of sight. She knew it would be landing now, unloading its droids, dispersing them to begin the hunt, but the only evidence she had of them was the toll they had left on her fingers when she assembled the prototypes, the scars. She looked at those hands, otherwise unblemished, remembering how Nichos’ own had curled with agony as his disease progressed, infecting organ after organ until all that was left was the pain.

    This day ought to be his crowning achievement. But there was no celebration to be had here, no joy. All around her the Force started to darken, because it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair! How dare the universe torment her this way! Why give her happiness at all if it was just going to take it away in the most excruciatingly painful, laboriously elaborate way possible. Why give her the Force if it was just going to use it to demonstrate unambiguously the horror of Nichos’ condition, without also giving her the ability to help him!

    The darkness relaxed around her. She let it go, and she cried.

    She didn’t hear the whisper-quiet sound of the turbolift opening, or the light footsteps across the dirt floor of the observatory garden. She did hear Luke Skywalker sit next to her, cross-legged, apparently not minding that he was getting dirt on his outfit, despite the fact that he no longer wore black. His white and brown robes were a recent affectation; he had left the brown cloak elsewhere.

    She sniffled miserably, feeling stupid and weak.

    “No, don’t,” Luke murmured. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

    The words were enough to send her into another burst of tears. She fell against Luke’s shoulder, sobbing, and he wrapped an arm around her, letting her cry. When she had regained the ability to speak, realizing that she was imposing her grief on Luke Skywalker, the galaxy’s noble hero, who surely had better—

    “No,” Luke said quietly. “I don’t. I have nothing in the galaxy better to be doing than to be here, right now.” He offered her a ghost of a smile. “You’re my student. And even if you weren’t, you’re a being in pain, and you are here, and so am I.” He paused, letting her wipe her eyes.

    “I’m sure you’ve never cried like this,” she mumbled, tasting the salt on her lips.

    “You’d be wrong,” Luke said. “After Yavin, when the reality of all that had happened finally sank in, I cried for days. I tried not to, I wanted to look strong for Han and Leia. Especially Leia because she’d lost Alderaan and didn’t cry anywhere near as much.” He looked up, watching Ossus turn, the clouds alive with blue-white bioluminescence. “Chewbacca sat with me. At the time I couldn’t even understand him, so he just sat with me and let me cry.” He squeezed her shoulders. “If you want to cry, then you should cry.”

    Cray sniffled again. “It’s not fair,” she said miserably, her tears exhausted for the moment. “It’s not.”

    Luke took a deep breath. “No,” he agreed softly. “It’s not.”

    When she didn’t speak again, he didn’t press her; instead, they watched together as Ossus, the center of all her efforts for these past years, all her trials, her life with Nichos and the object of all her goals, rotated slowly. “How did you get past it?” she asked finally.

    “I’m not sure I did,” Luke said. “In some ways the memory of Beru and Owen grows more vivid each year. What would they be doing today, what would they think of everything that has happened. I find myself in quiet moments, wishing they were here; that Aunt Beru and I could make ahrisa again, or Uncle Owen would wake me up before the crack of dawn to get the vaporators operating.” He took a deep breath. “Or I’ll imagine Biggs, still flying with Wedge and the Rogues.” He shook his head sadly. “But something Yoda told me once helps me sometimes, at least. All is one, in the Force. The Force is all life, not just all life that is, but all life that was, and all that will be.”

    Cray nodded, not feeling better.

    “Why don’t you tell me about him?”

    And she did. She told him how they met, as students at the Magrody Institute. How they’d shared the same advisor; how she’d found him insufferable at first, because of his tendency towards bravado. How she realized that his bravado was his own way of covering for his insecurities. How he’d convinced her that she was good enough, even as she’d done the same for him. How together they realized that she possessed a Force-gift, and how he’d been the one to convince her to pursue it, despite her initial reluctance. How he’d always known what she was thinking, what she wanted or needed. How his illness had first manifested, how rapidly it had worsened. How they’d tried droid components to forestall its progression, but even with captured Ssi-ruuvi technology their efforts had only ever been partially successful. How she’d grown more and more desperate to save him until he’d finally taken her aside, held her hands, and told her that he wanted to enjoy his last days as best he could, with her, working on something they both loved.

    And so they’d finished the Ossus Excavation and Archaeology Project, and then he had died before they could launch it.

    Luke listened, quiet and attentive, smiling when she smiled and laughing when she laughed. On occasion, even crying when she cried. It didn’t make her feel better, exactly, but she could feel passion returning and the Force met her passion with its own. “He said he just wished he’d lived long enough to see me become a Jedi,” she said softly.

    “I think he did,” said Luke.

    That made her cry again, and Luke let her, and when she had reached the end of her tears once again she thought maybe he was right.


    * * *​


    When Luke returned to their quarters Mara met him with open arms. He buried his head in her shoulder and she held him. “Will she be okay?” Mara asked.

    “I think so,” Luke said with a heavy sigh. He drew back, his blue eyes measuring and adoring, his hands sliding around her waist to draw her close. “It will take time and care, but I think so.” His thumb grazed against her cheek. “I love you.”

    Mara nodded.

    “You know we live dangerous lives,” he continued seriously.

    “You more than me,” Mara said, thinking of any number of times he’d taken one risk or another that could have been avoided. “You’re the one who fell in love with a woman who wanted to kill you.”

    Luke ignored the quip, but it brought a smile to his lips. After a moment that smile faded once again, and she knew he was again thinking of his student. “Nichos made sure Cray knew exactly how he felt,” Luke continued. “I think it’s helping her, now. Knowing just how much he loved her. And that he knew just how much she loved him.”

    Mara nodded again.

    Luke leaned in and kissed her gently. “So—”

    “No, don’t you dare,” she tried to stop him—

    “So,” he persisted, “I want you to know just how much I love you.”

    “Skywalker!”

    He kissed her again, slow and adoring, and she melted into the embrace and kissed him back, cursing him all the way. Damn Jedi and his… but her protests died away as their Force-senses intermingled, letting that which was him and that which was her tightly merge until they were as a single being, inextricable and one, and she knew again just how much he loved her and that forever was not just another word.







    Notes, continued: but I haven't touched anything in the second scene (after the * * *) because I still can't put my finger on why I don't like it, exactly. Can't fix something if you don't know why it's broken. I still think it is, but I just don't know why. So, hopefully at some point there will be a third draft.
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent details starting with Cray's POV in the second draft.

    I don't think the second half is broken at all. Luke needed someone to help him regroup after pouring himself into the deep empathy with Cray and no one better than Mara. People might discount her as a source of comfort but I never would. :) She might like to put herself across as being unsentimental but LOL not buying that. [face_love] Luke knows her, has always known her, as a woman with many layers. It's good that they can share this moment with one another. [face_love]
     
  8. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    While the writing itself is excellent, there is a slight disconnect, but I think that goes back to exactly what you want to accomplish with not just the moment, but the entire experience, as well as the context of the Interregnum universe. I rather suspect you'll figure out all those details as you go; I know that I've written out of order scenes that were fine on their own but when the larger story caught up with them, I saw more clearly how they needed to be edited to fit within and support that context.

    That said: is Luke simply reacting to his experience with Cray, needing some comfort himself and reflecting on what it would be like to lose someone you love? Or is there something specific at play? Luke's comment about living dangerous lives reads as though he's reflecting on Cray's experience, but Mara's stopping him seems almost as though they've already had a close call along these lines and she's afraid of making it real by acknowledging it?

    I do like the symmetry of Luke having Mara to go to for comfort after the emotional expenditure of helping Cray, and you've written it beautifully. I have no doubt at all that you'll figure out what's bothering you about it and sort it out :)
     
  9. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Hah, I just said the same thing last night. I know what the scene means for Luke and Cray, but I'm not sure what the scene means for Luke and Mara, and I think that might be the problem.
     
  10. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Commenting only on 2.0, I very deliberately did not read 1.0 since I felt it better to see only the more polished version without pre-judgment.

    I think its very interesting to see Cray Mingla at all, she's an interesting character as one of Luke's earlier Jedi trainees but she's also something of a cipher as to my recollection its amazing how little she's actually present in Children of the Jedi. Cray's grief for Nichos comes across very real, and she and Luke are both right that the circumstances are unfair (Nichos was extremely ill-done by as well, convenient fictional terminal illnesses are a trope I personally find rather frustrating).

    Regarding the second scene, my sense is that the emotional pivot is a little too abrupt. It goes from a very somber moment to a very fervent one with little in between. My initial impression is that it might be better to go from the second kiss into gentle cuddles and not the more intense direction it takes instead, but I wouldn't trust my impulses toward romance so take that with an entire glass of salt.

    Minor question, since while this is clearly set in an AU version of Legends, but have you deliberately changed conditions on Ossus? It was very much inhabited during Dark Empire, if ruggedly.
     
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  11. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    So, I hadn't intended to. The conditions here are modeled exactly after how Kevin J. Anderson describes the planet during Tionne's visit there during the short story Firestorm, which I had read shortly before writing this. It was only during a re-read of Dark Empire that I realized there's incongruity between Firestorm and Dark Empire II (which I do not understand how that happened), and I'm kind of at a loss of how to deal with it. I'm not sure if I should get rid of the radiation, or try to split the difference and add a mention that "radiation was particularly high at the old ruins" and put a few droids designed to try to clean it up in the mix, too.

    My general rule in writing AUs is to stick as closely as possible to the pre-existing canon, so I don't want to change Ossus unless I have no other choice. But now I'm not entirely sure what the conditions on Ossus even are, canonically.

    I feel similarly to you here. I need to sit down and just try re-writing that second scene.
     
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  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Honestly, you had me at Cray deserved better. ;) [face_mischief]

    That said, it was was all too happy to dive in and read this story, even in its 'rough draft' form! I've read the first few chapters of Interregnum, but still have quite a bit of catching up to do. From what I've read thus far I can say that I really respect your skills as an author! This piece was just as quality in the making, and I'm happy to be able to leave some feedback and say so!

    In particular, I enjoyed . . .

    This was GORGEOUS. Both your prose itself, and the beauty of Cray immersing herself in the living Force. I could picture the entire setting, and Cray in that setting, so vividly.

    This was a fantastic bit of characterization from start to finish. First off, Luke's compassion and empathy was just so beautifully sincere. Cray is grappling with so much pain and sorrow, and the right shoulder to lean on can make all the difference!

    Then, I liked this gleaned bit about Luke post-Yavin. Of course, after the adrenaline fades and reality sets in he'd be hit hard by grief. I loved the detail of Chewie being there for him. That just . . . fit.

    Beautiful. =D= I appreciate that you let Cray be, you know, an actual human being and character in her own right rather than a soulless shell for Callista to fill - quite literally. (So much about CotJ was just absolutely cringe worthy. [face_plain])

    [face_love]!!!

    And here I am with a big, goofy smile stuck to my face! Just lovely! [face_love]


    Thank-you so much for sharing this with us! I really enjoyed reading what you have so far. It's going to be interesting to see how it grows even further from here. =D=
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  13. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Thanks for the feedback! I had intended to revisit this in April, but it never happened. It might just linger in this state until the Interregnum-verse gets close chronologically to these events, I suppose... I know I like the Luke/Mara romantic ending, but I still think the transition between scenes is abrupt. Vi recommended that I not jump to Mara's POV but stick with Luke's, and I think that will be the next thing I try, since she just comes out of nowhere.