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Beyond - Legends The Way Out Is Through (2021 Fanfic Olympics - Ben Skywalker Decathlon - Enter!verse AU)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ViariSkywalker, Jul 1, 2021.

  1. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Title: The Way Out Is Through
    Author: ViariSkywalker
    Timeframe: 42-51 ABY in my Enter!verse
    Characters: Ben Skywalker and several extended Sky/Solo family members, canon/Legends ECs, and OCs
    Genre: AU, angst², drama, introspection, action, a little bit of *gasp* horror

    Summary: Ben Skywalker has lost so many people to war, and still he survives.

    Notes: Welcome to the Decathlon of Death. [face_devil] o_O But seriously, this is my first entry for the 2021 Fanfiction Summer Olympics, and fair warning: it’s going to be sad, and many characters will die. These stories are set in my Enter!verse/EtF-verse (I’m rebranding :p), a dark and twisty world that branches off from the Legends timeline early on in the LotF series and veers into wildly AU territory. Enter the Foreign takes place in 51 ABY, but there are a lot of things that went wrong in the ten-year period prior to the beginning of that story. This decathlon will touch on some of the events that occurred during that time. For more background on this ‘verse and the stories that take place in it, see under the spoiler cut.

    Title was inspired by two songs – “Through” by Jimmy Eat World, and “Stand in the Rain” by Superchick, both of which have some lyrics that give me Ben Skywalker feels.

    This ‘verse originated in my AU fic, Enter the Foreign, where a time-traveling/universe-hopping Anakin Skywalker is transported seventy years into the future and must help his surviving family members – including Ben Skywalker and Allana Djo Solo – in their struggle against the new Sith Empire. In this world, Darth Caedus rose to power but was eventually defeated, leaving the galaxy ripe for conquest by Darth Krayt’s One Sith, who came onto the scene after kicking around on Korriban for several years.

    For further reading in this 'verse:

    Enter the Foreign – the time travel epic (51 ABY; in-progress)

    The Lands of the Dead – origin story for the Super Evil Chaos Twins of Evil (43-49 ABY; short story)

    Where the Waves Shatter – feelings are hard, especially for a not-quite-former Sith Lord; Festus & Allana (54 ABY; vignette)

    What If This Storm Ends? – five times Darth Festus definitely wasn't in love with a Jedi princess, and one time she definitely wasn't in love with him; Allana/Festus (43-61 ABY; one-shot)

    Here There Be Monsters – Dorian Starskip almost dies (twice) and has a nice chat with Jacen Solo; (47 ABY; vignette)

    HK-47 and the Super Evil Chaos Twins of Evil – Festus buys a droid, Ferrus is annoyed, and HK-47 is surrounded by meatbags (52-53 ABY; vignette; humor/crack!fic)

    Forces of Gravity – in which Festus has terrible people skills and Ferrus has terrible aim; Allana/Festus (55 ABY; one-shot)

    In Dreams We Dwell – Allana attends a masquerade ball and deals with a dangerous uninvited guest; Allana/Festus (59 ABY; short story)

    Thunderbolt and Lightning – my Festus & Ferrus decathlon for the 2021 Fanfic Olympics (33-61 ABY; in-progress)

    Disclaimer: I don’t own Star Wars. Just playing in my angsty corner of the sandbox, once again.

    Enjoy! [face_mischief] [face_whistling]





    “We’ve lost so many of our heroes, the people we looked up to, who we thought could face anything. The best swordsmen, the best pilots, the best strategists… and they died. They died bravely, but they still died. And now we’re all that’s left.”
    Enter the Foreign, Chapter Eighteen​


    Index of Decathlon Events


    I. “The Best Starpilot in the Galaxy”400 Word Cross Country | 42 ABY

    II. “No Such Thing as Luck”110 Word Hurdle | 43 ABY

    III. “Sword of the Jedi”Prime Time Coverage | 43 ABY

    IV. “Night Must Fall”1500 Word Dash | 44 ABY

    V. “The Dark Is Generous”4x100 Relay | 42-44 ABY

    VI. “Survivor”200 Word Freestyle | 46 ABY

    VII. “Even Stars Burn Out”Fantastical Fencing | 47 ABY


    ~~
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021 at 6:32 AM
  2. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: Sometimes I steal titles from songs, and sometimes I steal them straight from our beloved SW films. My first event is the 400 Word Cross Country (400 words about your character, couple, family or friendship with any theme), and the title comes from ANH.


    “The Best Starpilot in the Galaxy” | 42 ABY | 400 Word Cross Country


    For all the violence and noise of the frenzied, chaotic space battle, Jagged Fel’s last moments are quiet.

    Ben stands at Jaina’s side, both of them drawn suddenly out of their seats by the sight of Jag’s starfighter caught in overlapping tractor beam fields. The cockpit of the Millennium Falcon is silent – even Uncle Han’s muttered, one-sided conversation with the ship has ceased as they all watch the scene unfold, too far away to reach him.

    His voice filters over the open comm channel. “Jaina,” he says, “get out of here.”

    A flair of stubborn refusal in the Force, layered over old, deeply-entrenched grief. “No,” she says. “I can’t. I’m not leaving you.”

    “Yes, you are.” His voice is strained, to the point of breaking. “That’s an order, Colonel.”

    A hitch in Jaina’s breathing. “You know you don’t outrank me anymore.”

    “Today I do.” There’s a long pause as Jag draws in a deep breath. “You tell them I love them,” he says. “You tell them every single day.”

    Jaina’s hand moves to the swell of her abdomen, cradling it. “You tell them yourself,” she replies, clutching the back of Uncle Han’s chair with her other hand. Leaning against it, as though gravity is dragging her down and it’s all she can do to stand upright and be strong for him.

    Ben watches the Sith fighters swarm, converging on Jag’s ship from all sides. “Promise me, Jaina.”

    Uncle Han reaches over his shoulder to grasp her hand, and she closes her eyes. “I promise. I love you, Jag.”

    “I love you, too—”

    Fire blooms, and the rest is static.


    ~~


    Davin cradles the holocube in his hands, staring at the image projected above it. Next to him, Dolan leans in, equally transfixed.

    “We’ve never seen this one,” Davin whispers.

    The holo of Jag is an old one, captured after the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War. He stands halfway up the ladder to his Chiss clawcraft, helmet held under one arm, turning back to flash a guarded smile.

    Davin looks up from the cube, eyes wide with breathless excitement. “Aunt Tahiri says he was a great starpilot. Is that true?”

    “Not just a great starpilot,” Ben says. “He was the best in the whole galaxy, and he loved you two more than anything.”

    “He never even met us,” Dolan says, small and quiet.

    Ben smiles, remembering. “He didn’t have to.”


    ~~
     
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    great opening with Jag
     
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  4. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Welp, I thought I was ready for this. Turns out I was wrong. :p

    You need to put angst up there at least twice. Just sayin'. o_O

    Also, no one is surprised by the horror. No one at all. ;) [face_mischief] [face_whistling]

    Oh! Through is perfect, and I have a new fave to add to my list in Stand in the Rain. [face_love]

    This scene hurt, and hurt bad, but I loved the little detail of Han's one-sided conversation with the Falcon. [face_love]

    I could have quoted every one of their final words, but it really was the whole that made this - how raw and open Jag is, and how Jaina still just believes and holds on and keeps on fighting until it's all over. This was such a powerful passage, and it hurt. =(( :_|

    (How many times am I going to say that throughout this collection? [face_worried])

    Also, I loved the detail of Han supporting Jaina through her pain. Lookie there at all of the Solo/Skywalker family feels, already. =((

    But, for all the angst, I love how you balance your writing with so much hope, and love too! I adored this image of Jag - just as I can imagine Jaina did. Especially the 'guarded smile' detail. [face_love]

    You know, I was initially expecting Jaina with the best starpilot in the galaxy title, but this was fitting. So fitting! And of course Jaina would agree but never agree, you know? Which just makes me smile.

    Also: Ben and Dolan and Davin and letting them know just how much they were loved and how much they still are loved - that was the bread and butter of this ficlet, and it hurt so good. Beautiful, in every tragic way. =D=


    *sucks in a breath and puts on a brave face*

    Alright, Vi: I'm ready. Hit us with your next shot. ;) [face_mischief] [:D]
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  5. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Counterpoint: You're not [face_skull]
     
  6. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @earlybird-obi-wan
    Thank you so much! :D



    @Mira_Jade
    [face_laugh] [face_mischief]

    [face_rofl]

    Actually, that's not a bad idea. [face_thinking] Here, lemme fix that...
    How's that? [face_batting] :p

    They're not? :eek: 8-} ;)

    Always happy to share my muse music! [:D]

    I'm glad you liked that! It felt right. [face_love]

    When I wrote this, I had just recently reread the part in FH3 where Jaina is unconscious and her mind is linked with Tahiri's, and Jag stays with her and tells her he loves her... and yeah, for all that Jag showed emotional restraint in the early days of the NJO, it always seemed to me (and this is based on my hazy recollection, which could be wrong, idk) that losing Jaina would have very likely broken him, so of course his only concern here would be for her safety and that of their children. =((

    At least nine more times, probably. [face_mischief] ;) :*

    I have so many problems with LotF and beyond, but that was always one of the most glaring problems to me, that the Sky/Solos didn't really seem like a family. And for someone whose connection to SW is really based in the family story, that was hard for me to put up with. So even though I created an even worse version of reality in these stories, I've tried to correct that oversight, at least. :p

    Quintessential Jag, amirite? Also, I hope you'll remember that I included love and hope in this ficlet when you're reading the next one... [face_worried]

    I'm sure it was a continuous debate between them, with Han and Wedge and Soontir and many others weighing in with their own opinions. [face_laugh] But at the end of the day, Jag really was something special. And this is still a decathlon of death, and Jaina’s end comes in a much different manner. [face_plain] =((

    I almost didn't include this part, but after mentioning it to Gabri, she told me I had to, so we have her to thank for this not being completely depressing. :p I am glad you enjoyed it!

    I hope so, because this next one... [face_worried]

    Thank you as always for your lovely comments! [:D] (And brace yourself!)



    @Gabri_Jade
    [face_rofl]

    I have to agree with this. [face_devil]
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  7. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: My second event is the 110 Word Hurdle (in which the name or names of your character, family, friendship, or couple aren’t mentioned). I should probably apologize in advance for this one. [face_worried] The title is another steal from ANH.


    “No Such Thing as Luck” | 43 ABY | 110 Word Hurdle


    The explosion fills his viewport, the freighter’s wreckage wreathed in flames for one blindingly brief instant before the vacuum of space snuffs them out.

    Even with all the danger they’ve faced and the losses they’ve taken, and the endless procession of tragedy, he has never been able to picture a moment like this. If his father’s death tore a hole in the safety net of his reality, then this one has blasted it wide open.

    He watches helplessly as the Millennium Falcon’s twisted, shattered carcass drifts amid a field of debris; and as the Sith’s helix starfighters blast through the remains, he wonders if he will ever feel safe again.


    ~~
     
  8. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Well, @Gabri_Jade, you were right. I wasn't ready and I'm not okay. :p

    Ha! Perfect!

    OMG, THIS! What an old buried memory FH3 was. But you're right. I never understood the anti-Jag fans who liked to call him Captain Cardboard in all seriousness. He's very much a still waters runs deep kind of character, and I just adore how deep his devotion to Jaina ran.

    . . . you know, when the pro writers remembered to write well, that is. :p [face_mischief] [face_whistling]

    THIS!! It's like they forgot to write their characters as human beings, first and foremost, and everything just unraveled from there. I share your frustrations. o_O :rolleyes:

    And just like that, I knew who this would be about. [face_plain]

    Well, that hurt like pain. Thanks for that. :p :_|

    It's fitting, in a sense, that Han and the Falcon go together. I could easily imagine how this shook Ben's world - and all the more so through your writing. After everything they've lost, Han is Han, and it's hard to imagine his luck ever running out. Yet, now that it has, who's safe? What's safe, anymore?

    And again I just want to kick Jacen's butt and ask him why? What is worth this? =((

    Anyway, I'm just going to say it again: in just a few words you packed in so much emotion that really resonated with me. Well done, truly. =D=


    Erm, more please? :p
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
  9. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Someday I'll get around to actual feedback on the stories, but in the meantime, imagine this: You're just sitting there, minding your own business, it's almost midnight and you're thinking that you should probably go to bed (okay, in a couple of hours, whatever), and Vi texts you. "Hey, I finished the next one, I'mma email it to you. Tell me if it makes sense."

    And now you're sitting there at midnight picturing the heart-wrenching death of a character you love and Vi is cackling like the angstmonger she is, and let me tell you, I've been waiting for you to suffer alongside me. Enjoy the ride :p
     
  10. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    WOW that's a momentous event to watch
     
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  11. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Seeing any of the main characters I love die is ouch, but I can accept it.

    Seeing the Millennium Falcon destroyed is unacceptable, and I am not okay.
     
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  12. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Definitely not okay after seeing the Falcon destroyed. But such a wonderful bit of writing.
     
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  13. mavjade

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

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    The Best Starpilot in the Galaxy
    Oh wow, starting off right in the feels. I mean, you warned us, but...:_| (It's okay, I love me some angst!)
    To show so much emotion and feeling in such a short story... fantastic work! Even having not read you other stories (and thank you for the primer!) I felt like I could jump right in.

    No Such Thing as Luck
    Guh... that hit really hard.
    Such a beautiful line and so heartbreaking. I could feel how devastating this was for him.


    Beautiful work!! @};-=D=
     
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  14. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @Mira_Jade
    [face_mischief] [face_mischief] [face_mischief]

    I absolutely agree with you! He and Jaina really were perfectly matched, weren't they? (And I loved how in ST you had Jaina refer to him as a flimsi-board cutout. [face_laugh] To each their own, but I never understood that perception of him either.)

    [face_whistling]

    You're weeeeelcome! [face_batting] :*

    I did feel like it was fitting that Han and the Falcon went down together, depressing as it was. It was the only way I could picture it happening in this crapsack world. :(

    No one, Mira. NO ONE. [face_hypnotized]

    Those answers coming soon! (Or, you know, in the next few weeks... if I can manage to stick to my timetable. :p)

    I'm really glad you think so! [face_blush] I do love the challenge of fitting a lot into such a small amount of words! Thanks for continuing to read and respond! :D [:D]

    Coming right up! ;)



    @Gabri_Jade
    [face_rofl] [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    Also, I'm pretty sure it was like noon your time when I sent Han's death. Just saying. o_O



    @earlybird-obi-wan
    I don't think I would ever want to see it happen onscreen (or in the novels), but I knew that was something that would heavily impact Ben and anyone else who witnessed it. Thanks for reading! :D



    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701
    I am not at all surprised by this reaction. :p [face_mischief]



    @JediMaster_Jen
    Why thank you! [face_blush] It did hurt me to write it, but sadly the story demanded it. :(



    @mavjade
    If you love angst, you've definitely come to the right place... ;) [face_mischief]

    I'm so glad to hear that, and also glad to have you along for the ride! :D

    I'm always pleased to know that my angst has hit hard. [face_mischief]

    Thank you so much! [face_blush] I'm happy you're enjoying it so far! :D
     
  15. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: Well, I think one look at the title is all you’ll need to know what happens in this vig. [face_plain] This is Prime Time Coverage (500+ words of action, adventure, or excitement with your chosen character as the star), and though this title has appeared in several SW novels, it originated in Walter Jon Williams’ New Jedi Order: Destiny’s Way.


    “Sword of the Jedi” | 43 ABY | Prime Time Coverage


    Ben stands on the bridge of the Anakin Solo, lightsaber held to the throat of the stubbornest junior officer in the entire Galactic Alliance.

    “Order them back,” he says, jaw tight as he tries to influence the man’s mind to cooperate.

    The communications officer is silent in his defiance, eyes straight ahead as he sits completely still at his station. The men and women around him are motionless as well.

    Ben growls, unable to contain his frustration. He thinks of all the Jedi who should be here instead of him, Jedi who would be able to handle this situation far better than he is. Jedi who wouldn’t be tempted to punch this stupidly loyal idiot in the face…

    “Ben,” Valin calls down into the crew pit. “Come here.”

    He exhales slowly, trying to control the tremor in his hands, wondering why the hum of his saber is so deafening. “What is it?”

    “They’re pulling out.”

    He blinks, wondering if he’s heard wrong. “What do you mean, they’re pulling out? Who?”

    Valin leans over the edge of the crew pit and motions for Ben to join him at the viewport. “The Sith. They’re leaving.”

    A strange dread fills him as he lowers his saber and vaults out of the pit, jogging to Valin’s side. They stare out at the Sith warships, now beginning to turn toward open space. But there are two destroyers that are still spitting fire at their enemies, the two closest to Jacen’s flagship; and in that moment, Ben remembers something he heard once while he hung in the Embrace of Pain…

    Treachery, Jacen had informed him, is the way of the Sith.

    “Valin,” he says, grabbing the other man’s arm. “We have to get off this ship, now.”

    He’s reaching for his comlink to warn the others, to warn Jaina, when the first salvo hits. The ship shudders, its shields strained to the breaking point already, and he knows that the next round will demolish them. The crew pit roars to life again, officers relaying orders at the top of their lungs, completely ignoring the team of Jedi that had held them hostage seconds ago.

    Ben turns and runs, Valin close on his heels. He waves frantically at the rest of their strike team, urging them away.

    “Back to the shuttle!” he shouts above the klaxon that has begun to sound. “This ship is going down!”

    They stagger down the corridor as another salvo tears through the shields and strikes durasteel. The power flickers, then fails entirely, and emergency lights switch on. At this point, he’s not even sure if they’re going in the right direction or if their tiny shuttle will still be waiting for them. He can’t focus on that, though. There are too many variables to plan for, and right now, they need to get as far from those Sith turbolasers as possible.

    Suddenly the corridor tilts, and Ben is thrown against the wall. He tries to keep going, but everything is sideways, and it takes him a few seconds to realize why.

    “Must’ve hit one of the antigrav generators!” Valin shouts, giving voice to Ben’s thoughts. That explains the shifting gravity field that is making his feet want to run along the wall of the corridor instead of the floor. The Jedi steady and reorient themselves before continuing toward the Star Destroyer’s hangar bays.

    The closer they get to the hangar, the more chaos they encounter: sections of ceiling caved in, fires raging in adjacent hallways, crew members scrambling to abandon ship. They don’t even seem to notice the Jedi as they race for the escape pods. Ben wonders if he and his companions will have to take those same pods.

    “Valin, Ben,” Tahiri’s voice cuts in over the comlink. “We’re at the shuttle. No damage; we’re prepping for takeoff. How far out are you?”

    Ben growls under his breath. He’s not even sure anymore; the featureless gray corridors of the destroyer are even more indistinguishable now that they’re sideways.

    Valin answers for them. “Less than a minute out, we’re going as fast as we can.”

    Ben is about to say something, when he feels Jaina’s unmistakable light flaring in the Force. It’s so luminous, he wonders that he didn’t notice it this whole time. And he realizes she’s too far from the shuttle, that she’s under stress, that she’s…

    He grits his teeth. He should have known it wouldn’t be that easy, that she wouldn’t be able to beat Jacen so quickly. How could he have allowed himself to hope? And even though he can’t feel his former master in the Force, he knows – somehow, he knows – Jacen is still alive and still fighting.

    Behind him, the other Jedi slow ever so slightly, perhaps perceiving what Ben has, that even as the ship breaks apart around them, something is building to a boil deep within its belly – a battle not between dark and light, or shield and sword, or even the slayer and the trickster. No, the battle is between Jacen and Jaina, and though it’s a small distinction, Ben can feel the truth of it clearly.

    He senses her, then, her speed and wild abandon tempered by laser sharp focus and determination. And then – painfully, unthinkably, impossibly – he senses Jacen, too, his cold fire sparking against Jaina’s heat as they clash over and over, each of them desperate to end this, or maybe to convince the other to stop, so they won’t have to kill their other half—

    Ben gasps, and his vision goes white around the edges. He realizes Valin is pulling him toward the shuttle – when did they reach the hangar? – and Tahiri gathers him into her arms for a moment before pushing him up the ramp – does she sense what’s happening? – and the shuttle blasts out of the dying Anakin Solo as fire rains down around them.

    For one fleeting instant, Ben remembers the look on Jaina’s face three months ago, when he entered the medbay and saw her holding her newborn sons in her arms. The joy and pride and relief and heartbreak she couldn’t contain. She’d known this was coming, hadn’t she? The Sword of the Jedi, with one last battle to fight.

    It happens just seconds before the final volley. One minute she’s there, and the next she’s just… gone. And in a flash of insight, he sees them both lying there, crumpled on the deck; and he refuses to believe the impossible anguish and rage that assaults him in her wake, because Jacen doesn’t love anyone, Jacen doesn’t feel loss or suffering, Jacen definitely isn’t cradling his sister in his arms as fire sweeps in to consume them both…

    The Star Destroyer breaks apart, turbolasers reducing parts of it to atoms as the rest drifts aimlessly among the wreckage of the battle. Ben stares out the viewport, reaching into the black hole of misery and death that swirls in the Force around him, and he senses nothing from them, nothing at all. They’re gone. They’re gone.

    Jaina and Jacen Solo are dead.


    ~~
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Of course you aren't.

    You can't help it, can you? You just have to yank our hearts right out of our chests and rip them to shreds, don't you?

    Why U do this?!!???

    (Sort of meant as sarcasm, but still....)
     
  17. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Such a terrible fight, isn't it? To know she would be leaving her newborn twins in the pursuit of her own twin? Heartbreaking indeed. :_|

    Wonderful imagery. I think Ben, like Jaina, knew how her fight with Jacen would end. :( So sad that they both died.

    Brava! Excellent fic. =D=
     
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  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    WOW Ben experiencing all this in the Force-visions. The loss of Jacen and Jaina, twins and enemies after terrible events
     
  19. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    And I thought the last two hurt. I was a full-blown messy sniffling you're breaking my heart by the end of this one. =(( :_|


    Oh Ben. I hated his doubting himself, thinking how some other Jedi would be able to do better than he is. Undoubtedly, the losses they've suffered are weighing him down. But, sometimes you just gotta punch stupid loyal idiots in the face. I enjoyed that detail. :p

    Welp, that's one way to do it.

    Your action was just so . . . what's a good adjective for action-y? :p It was intense and charged and it felt urgent. I really enjoyed the detail of the change in gravity. You could feel the frenzied energy of the ship in its final moments. =D=

    And speaking of final moments. [face_plain]

    It was the light flaring in the Force that really got me. Isn't that how far too many of the greatest Jedi go? Ben reaching the realization that Jaina wasn't going to make it was . . . it was rough. You could feel his panic building here, again.

    I lost it with that inversion of SW's most timeless refrain . . .

    But a very important one. =((

    The parentheticals there were gutting.

    No, that was gutting. Just twist the knife, why don't ya?! =(( =(( =((

    (WHERE'S MY SUPER HEARTBREAK EMOJI???)

    Dang. Ninjas. Chopping. Onions. :_| :_|

    But for all the pain, you did such a fantastic job of emerging us so completely in Ben's thoughts pain and rage and that fury. This Jacen isn't the Jacen he'd loved, and it's that last image of him holding Jaina that's such a juxtaposition to the monster he's let himself become that it no longer fits. Just . . . really powerful writing here, from the first word from the last.


    *takes a deep breath* . . . more? :p [face_mischief]


    =D= [:D]
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
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  20. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    90+% of your stuff gets sent to me around midnight (LIKE RIGHT NOW), so my point stands o_O

    *shakes fist*

    I can take or leave a lot of the NJO, but Jag was awesome and I loved him and I especially loved him and Jaina together and how very dare you

    I mean, thinking this over, you at least gave almost every character a chance to say goodbye in some way, so....small blessings?

    I love this solemn cocky hotshot fighter jock, I really do [face_love]

    Especially if you're counting among the non-Force-sensitive pilots, that's right, he is :cool:

    But because you killed everyone else off, now Ben and Tahiri have to be surrogate parents for everyone and omigosh, bebeh!Mara needs a new dress to make up for this emotional carnage

    [face_plain] [face_plain] [face_plain]

    We all see our own flaws and everyone else's strengths most clearly, don't we? If only Ben knew how often his own parents thought almost this exact thing...

    See, Ben, you knew exactly what needed to be known and did exactly what needed to be done, quit tearing yourself down, you idiot

    [face_plain] [face_plain] [face_plain] [face_plain] [face_plain]

    A brilliant detail here, you angsty little genius, you [face_love]

    :_| :_| :_|

    It's a miracle Ben is still able to function after all these losses, quite honestly

    The NJO never quite seemed to know what to do with that title, but you did. I don't know whether to be proud or outraged

    *lies on the floor staring at the ceiling*

    *knows what is coming*

    *despair*

    (new fancy dress or so help me)
     
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  21. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701
    Because it hurts so good. [face_mischief]

    Seriously, though, I love feeling all the feelings, and I love getting you guys to feel them, too. [face_dancing]




    @JediMaster_Jen
    So many awful, heartbreaking twin parallels here. :(

    I'm really glad you like the imagery! I was hoping to convey the depth of the tragedy of this fight. It was a horrific day for the remaining members of Skywalker-Solo family. Maybe especially for Ben, who was so close when it happened. =((

    Thank you so much! I'm so glad you're enjoying it! :D




    @earlybird-obi-wan
    It really was an intense and terrible day for all involved. :(




    @Mira_Jade
    I would say I'm sorry, but I love this reaction. ;) :*

    Sometimes you just gotta. :p Ben is just shy of 17yo here, too, and after the loss of his father and - by this point - several other Jedi Masters, he's feeling the weight of expectation, that he will be called on to take their place; and he just doesn't feel ready for that yet. (And probably feels he will never be ready.)

    Yay, I'm glad you think so! As you know, I always doubt my action writing, so I'm always happy to know what works best!

    As much as these ficlets have been focused on the deaths of other people, it's still a Ben Skywalker decathlon, and I really wanted to keep a tight focus inside Ben's head, to show that moment when Jaina's presence breaks through all the chaos of trying to escape the Star Destroyer, and suddenly he can focus on nothing else.

    For as much as we talk about anger, fear, and aggression being the path to the dark side, I really think despair is one of the most powerful paths. The antithesis of hope. [face_plain]

    I was definitely inspired by Stover's RotS novelization and his portrayal of the final battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. [face_love]

    I'm glad you liked those! I do like writing those little asides to give the action more immediacy. [face_thinking]

    Angst squared, baby. [face_mischief] :D [face_whistling]

    This decathlon really couldn't have come at a more perfect time, with where we are right now in EtF. Part of understanding where Jacen is in the future is understanding where he came from, and the choices he made along the way. Same holds for Ben, too, I suppose, and omigosh I can't wait for you to read it all! [face_dancing]

    Oh boy. You're probably not ready for this one either, Mira. [face_worried]

    ... [face_mischief]




    @Gabri_Jade
    Fair enough, you have a valid point. :p ;)

    It had to be done, Gabri. It had to be done.

    They were amazingly suited to one another, and the fact that the EU waffled over which suitor Jaina should choose will always irritate me. She loved Jag, and Jag loved her. End of story. So even though I killed him off here, I wanted to show the strength of that love. (Also, sorry. [face_whistling])

    See? I've tried to make things not completely awful. [face_batting] [face_whistling]

    He's the best. [face_love] I did always like Jag a lot, but between writing this and reading Mira's recent J/J fic, my interest has been renewed and I love it!

    I figured he's in his 30s at this point and the other fighter aces have had many long years at the top; certainly by this point Jag would have improved even more to become one of the most formidable pilots to ever climb into a cockpit. ;) And as much as I love my Force-sensitive Jedi starpilots, I also love pilots like Jag and Han and Wedge, who possess that combination of skill and daring and ingenuity that allows them to leap ahead of just about everyone out there, Jedi included. Plus they're just so cool. :cool:

    Bebeh!Mara is going to need a whole closet full of dresses when I'm through...

    [face_whistling] [face_whistling]

    Ugh, that's so true. (How often do I do the same thing with my writing? And basically everything else about me? :p) I'm sure it isn't helped by the fact that Luke and several of the top Jedi Masters are dead at this point, and he's painfully aware of his own inexperience. :(

    I love him so much, Gabri. [face_love] And his instincts are spot-on, even at this age.

    [face_whistling] [face_whistling] [face_whistling]

    Why thank you! [face_blush] I was inspired by Stover's RotS novelization here, surprise, surprise. :p Those lines about the duel on Mustafar being a fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan and all the damage they'd done to each other over the years... yeah, that's really stayed with me all these years, and I would choose that sort of dynamic every single time, rather than what we got in LotF. [face_plain]

    Exactly. :(

    It really is. This poor broken boy. =((

    Awww, Gabri! [face_blush] [face_blush] I agree, though, it always seemed like a nebulous title that was really just code for "Jaina gets to keep blowing things up in her starfighter instead of being a stoic and peaceful Jedi". Which hey, I'm all for Jaina continuing to be an amazing combat pilot! But in the greater context of SW and her family and legacy and her accomplishments and everything she was capable of, that always seemed sorta limiting to me. And this is definitely not the way I would have liked to see that prophecy play out, but if you're going to give someone an epic title like "Sword of the Jedi", then you'd better damn well show that she's the Sword of the Jedi. So I'm glad you think I did a good job of it here. Even if it was super depressing. :(

    [face_mischief] [face_mischief] [face_mischief] [face_mischief] [face_mischief]

    It's here, Gabri. Time for some real pain...



    The 1500 Word Dash, coming up next!
     
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  22. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: Next up is the 1500 Word Dash (a 1,500-word story about your character with any theme). The events in this story have been in my head in some form or another for a long time, and yet it still came out a bit different than I’d imagined it would. And I was sort of kicking myself for using this for the 1,500-word story, because there was so much more I could have written; but ultimately, I think it works. Prepare for some pain, and a bit of horror. [face_worried] The title is yet another film steal, this time from RotJ.

    (Also, this vignette runs concurrent with certain events in my short story, The Lands of the Dead. Just in case this story isn't heartbreaking enough on its own. :()




    “Night Must Fall” | 44 ABY | 1500 Word Dash


    “Mara.”

    Tahiri’s voice crackles across the comm channel, urgent and serious. Ben exchanges a look with his mom as she plucks the comlink from her belt. “Go ahead.”

    “We found the kids, but there are only six of them. The others…”

    Tahiri’s words trail off, and the static hiss of the comlink fills the silence. Mom closes her eyes, then shakes her head.

    “I can sense more,” she says, concentrating. “They’ve split them up.”

    On the other end of the comm, Tahiri inhales. “They knew we were coming.”

    “Looks that way.”

    He can sense the slight waver in his mom’s presence, the weariness that has gnawed at the edges of her ever since Dad died; but it lasts only a few seconds, and she rolls her shoulders back and looks straight at him.

    “You two keep setting the charges. If you find any of the kids, get them out of here.”

    Ben glances over at Elias, the bag of detonators suddenly heavy in his hands. “You want to split up? There’s at least half a dozen Sith Lords in here.”

    For one second, he thinks she’ll scold him for questioning an order in the middle of a mission; instead, she reaches up to touch his chin, her green eyes full of an emotion he doesn’t quite understand. “All teams,” she says into the comlink, her eyes never leaving his. “Find as many of the children as you can, and get them to the ship. There isn’t much time.”

    She clips the comlink to her belt and gives him a tight smile. “Now go on. Those charges aren’t going to set themselves.”

    He swallows hard and nods. “Come on,” he says to Elias, turning away from his mom. He senses her as she runs off in the opposite direction, heading deeper into the fortress.

    They work as quickly as they can, moving from room to room, setting charges and searching for some sign of the remaining prisoners. There are vacant cells and an empty tactical suite, and plenty of rooms that seem to serve no other purpose than to impede their search and keep them trapped in this place even longer. He can feel the rest of the strike team spread throughout the fortress, but the bonds that connect them are shrouded in a pall of darkness.

    “Ben!”

    His head snaps toward the sound of Elias’s voice, toward the sudden horror that surrounds his friend’s presence. Elias is standing just outside an open door at the end of the corridor, frozen in place. He opens his mouth to speak again, but nothing comes out. Ben tries to ignore the pounding of his heart as he jogs to his friend’s side and turns to look into the room.

    Gods,” he whispers as he stares at the bodies left behind by the Sith doctor, failed experiments cast aside like waste, piled haphazardly and left to rot. How many? How many that they never even knew about? Ordinary people stolen from their homes just because they possessed a trace of Force-sensitivity, without a way to resist or fight back. Adults and children alike – Force, so many children…

    A ragged breath beside him rips him from his thoughts. He looks over at Elias, at the tears spilling onto the younger boy’s cheeks.

    “Why— why would they—?” Elias cuts off with another shaky breath, swiping the back of his wrist across his eyes.

    Ben reaches out a hand to touch his friend’s elbow. “Come on,” he says gently. “Let’s go.”

    Elias doesn’t resist as Ben leads him away, but he can feel the boy’s anguish bleeding into the Force.

    “I think we found them.” Mereg’s voice fills the air. “Bor and I are in the upper north wing—”

    The transmission cuts off for a second, then he hears the deep, distinct snap-hiss of a Sith lightsaber activating, and a scream that ripples through the comlink and through the Force.

    “Mereg?” He grips the comlink tight in his hand. “Bor!”

    Next to him, Elias backs up against a wall, then doubles over and reaches up to grab the sides of his head. “They’re dead,” he moans.

    Ben looks all around him, trying to find his center, trying to gain his bearings. The upper north wing… that’s the farthest point from where the strike team entered, and if what Ben is sensing is correct, he and Elias are the ones closest to it.

    He puts his hands on Elias’s shoulders, gripping them hard. “Hey,” he says, pulling his friend upright. “I know it’s hard, but we’re not done yet. There are still kids here who need our help.”

    Elias looks up at him, his eyes red with tears and from the force of trying to scrub them away. Then he nods quickly. “Okay,” he says, a broken whisper.

    The shroud of darkness grows heavier as the climb the tower, finally reaching a turbolift with only one discernable destination. As the lift rises, he feels an echo of pain screeching through the Force, like shards of glass dragged along a durasteel surface.

    The door opens on a blindingly white room, its floor littered with an array of medical instruments that shine under the harsh overhead lights. A nearby computer sparks, the console melted and cleaved in two by the blade of a lightsaber. And in the center of the room, on an operating table, lies the bloodless body of Karanya’s youngest child.

    Neither of them is able to move or speak for those first few seconds.

    “We can’t leave him here,” Elias whispers.

    Ben’s throat is dry, and his tongue sticks in his mouth. “I can take him.”

    “No.” Elias takes a halting step forward, steeling himself. “No, I’ll do it.” He crosses the room and scoops the boy into his arms, wiping blood from his neck with his sleeve. Then he carries him to the turbolift. Ben steps inside after him, glancing one last time at the lab before the door slides shut.

    In spite of the labyrinthine construction of the fortress, Ben and Elias manage to stumble upon another group of children on their way out. There are only four of them, all barely able to move, left to waste away in a prison cell. Elias can only carry one more, so Ben juggles the other three in his arms, convincing one of the children to climb onto his back. He tells Elias to go ahead of him, that he’ll catch up.

    The little Twi’lek girl is nearly gone; he can feel her lifeforce fading, and he holds her close to his chest, trying to give her as much warmth as he can. He sees daylight through the door ahead, and he hears voices shouting across the comm, and he thinks of all the detonators scattered throughout the fortress, ready to blow. As he emerges from the building, wind whips up around him, and their starship touches down in time for Elias to run aboard. A few more seconds, and he’ll be there, too.

    Then he sees her in his mind’s eye, surrounded on all sides by darkness and rage and…

    The word escapes him in a whisper of breath: “Mom.”

    Go, she tells him.

    No, no. He’s not doing that again; he’s never leaving anyone ever again. He promised. He can make it back to her if she just holds on—

    Not this time.

    Just wait! he calls out to her, almost stumbling as he sprints up the ramp. I’m coming for you!

    He sets the children down on the deck of the cargo hold and spins around, ignoring Elias’s stunned look as he runs back down the ramp. He can’t lose her, too. He can’t, he can’t

    I love you, Ben.

    She leaves this world not as an exploding star, like his dad, but as a sunset, her last moment stretching on for what seems an eternity before slipping suddenly below the horizon. His boots hit the ground, and he skids to a stop, unable to tear his gaze from the fortress, from the darkness that now rushes to fill that space where her light so fiercely glowed. He realizes, a bit distantly, that Yalena’s actual sun is setting behind him, and he nearly lets loose an ugly, strangled laugh at the absurdity of it all.

    “Ben!” Tahiri shouts from inside the ship, her voice raw. “We have to go!”

    He turns and staggers up the ramp in a haze, barely aware of what is up or down as he collapses onto the deck next to the rescued children. In his rational brain, he understands that some of the kids were left behind and that an explosion will consume them along with the fortress and the Sith. In his rational brain, he knows he should grieve for all the people they lost today.

    But he’s not feeling very rational right now, and in the wildness of his primal heart he screams and screams and screams, a lost boy crying out for his mother.


    ~~
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  23. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Take it back. Take it all back. [face_not_talking] :_|

    Dangit, Vi, there weren't even ninjas this time. It's like I popped a valve in my stupid eyes, which is just as worrisome as it sounds! :mad:

    . . . I'm gonna edit this with better feedback later in today, but yeah. I had to get that off my chest first. :p ;) [:D]
     
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  24. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Oh, boy. The goodbye without words. :(

    Such burdens for ones so young. The sadness is so palpable in your depictions here.

    :_|:_| And finally, the goodbye with words. I love that in her last moments, she told her beloved son the only thing he needed to know; simply that she loved him.

    Poor Ben. Now without any parents. :(

    Such a beautifully written story. Very descriptive. Great moments between Ben and Elias. I enjoyed Tahiri making an appearance. Splendid!=D=
     
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  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh dear. Given the body count after just four of ten entries, I'm beginning to wonder if there'll be anyone left alive at the end.

    This is all beautifully written and a great use of the prompts. I have to say that the hardest one to read for me was the 110-Word Hurdle that, by being so short, packed a rather massive punch. When I saw the title I thought it was ominous, but boy did I have no idea what to expect!

    Okay, I'm ready for more dark, angsty, twisted stuff. Or, well, no, I'm not ready, but just go ahead and hit me with it!