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Saga - OT The Wind that Shakes the Corley (Celtic Song Challenge) -- COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    I totally understand Niall's reasoning about lovemaking the night before now. I would think the same way, and I don't care if that makes me a prude. If love and emotions are not involved, sex can go kriff itself.

    And then, when he's empty, he finds the right way to fill his broken soul again - by helping people who protested against his homeworld's destruction, people who literally gave an arm and a leg for the growing Rebellion.

    I am crying. This is precisely what the Empire had made out of people - people without arms are UNABLE TO DO THINGS. That's like cutting off their wings. And they would even twist the neck of a baby bird, not quite out of the nest yet. How can people LIKE them is beyond me.

    And I dig Pocrates. Might ask to borrow him!


    Ryas, STOP HIM. He is Alderaan, but if he's gone, then, well, one less person is Alderaan.

    A short entry, indeed, but SO, SO POWERFUL.
  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    If I haven't said it before, I'll say it again: Dr. Pocrates absolutely rules this story. ^:)^ "You are Alderaan"—yes. Absolutely. Bang-on. Immensely wise counsel that I hope Niall will remember and take to heart, whichever direction he decides to go on this matter.

    And it seems that he now has made up his mind... though you've left things tantalizingly ambiguous to us readers. He worries if Ryas would accept his decision, which looks at first glance as though he's chosen to [hl=black]turn down Ryas's offer to join the Surgical Corps and elope[/hl], but then again things might not be what they seem here, and given the way Ryas has this odd mixture of love for his fiancé and enthusiasm for the Imperial cause, who knows how he might react about anything anymore... aaghh, more suspense! More beautiful, wonderful suspense! :D

    You've turned the theme of the song sideways or upside-down or some kind of other direction in an exceedingly cool way here, and it comes through more and more with each entry. Don't keep us waiting too long for more, pretty please! :)
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    I'm sorry I've gotten behind here.

    Niall is in such a terrible place right now. He is watching the world he is on unravel while he has no home world left to retreat to. The description of the assault on the peaceful protesters and the barbaric destruction of life that resulted from it was heartbreaking. It's weird how that happens; one day everything is going along smoothly and without incident, then everything goes wrong in such terrible ways. When sorrows come, they come not as single spies but in battalions.

    Ryas is being very tonedeaf to Niall's needs right now. This is a huge warning to Niall. How can Ryas go about gushing excitedly about the supercool weapon that KILLED ALL OF NIALL'S FAMILY? That's just... so wrong. Niall need Ryas to comfort him and to support him. This is definitely not the time to pressure him to switch his job and elope. Niall needs time to rebound from this horrible loss - it probably hasn't even fully sunk in yet that everyone he grew up with, all his family - they are gone. He will never speak with them again. He will never stand on the place that was his home.

    Dan sees the evil that the Empire does, but Ryas, who is right in the midst of it, can't see it. Ryas seems to see only what he wants to. And Niall is the one who has to make the hard decision here.
  4. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Ack! I got behind. Great, emotionally intense, updates.

    Well, this is Star Wars. I’m sorry. I show myself out now.

    I love this. You always have a choice. Others have said it, but I love how spot on and wise Dr. Pocrates is.

    It seems as thought Niall has made up his choice. But how will Ryas react?
  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Huh-huh, they said "behind"
    Tn a story of this kind,
    That blows my mind. :eek:
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  6. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, that poor little girl. (Because a fancy new arm for Luke and Anakin is not the same for this child growing up; she was innocent, she was defenseless.) The aftermath of the vigil was sobering to see, but I am glad that caring for those in need helped Niall find his center, as much as it could.

    But, not so much as -

    I'd fist-pump here if this wasn't such a somber monologue. Because yes; every word of that was spot-on accurate, and just what Niall needed to hear. I have to echo the above reviewers and say just how much I adore your Doctor Pocrates. [face_love]

    Now that Niall has made his choice in his heart - the right choice, I am hoping that Ryas will step up as he failed to do before, and be there for his partner. But, looking at the song . . . I don't know how much of a 'happy' ending I should expect. :( [face_worried]

    I am eager for more, as always. =D=
  7. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    In a stressful situation, I do think it helps to be busy, especially if what you are doing is making a positive contribution to a bad situation.

    He's got one more appearance...

    [face_blush] Well, Pandora did give us a very good challenge...

    Awesome quote, divapilot! And sadly, true...

    Because if Ryas did see it, he'd have to acknowledge it and his role in it. If you think you're a good person, it's hard to face the dirt you've been involved in...

    Yeaaah...CELTIC song challenge. :(
    You are about to find out! :D So...

    * * *

    It was two days before he could see his lover again. Ryas was sequestered at work, and apart from some loving messages, he simply couldn’t get away. Niall had spent most of his time following the news, trying to learn more about Alderaan. But with the initial reports out, there was nothing else, which surprised him a bit. Most of the news focused on the Emperor’s decision to dissolve the Senate and hand governing authority over to the Sector Moffs. The newscasters spun this as inspired, but most people Niall spoke to weren’t particularly happy about it. They wanted their own, elected representatives, however flawed they might be.

    He spent a lot of sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling or pacing around the apartment and staring out the window, going over in his head the recent events…the massacre at Embarkation Square, the destruction of NiJedha, and the destruction of his own beautiful homeworld. All of these things out of fear of the Rebellion. Only the Rebels weren’t very strong, or very organized. Any reports on the news were of Rebel cells being broken up, Rebel leaders captured. They attacked supplies from military convoys, they stole from Imperial depots, they sliced Imperial broadcasts to transmit propaganda…there had been a few attacks on munitions dumps and sabotage at the Sienar manufacturing facilities. But they had never, to his knowledge, destroyed worlds or cities. Scarif was the only real victory they could claim, another Imperial military facility, and hundreds of them had died or been captured, leaving them weaker than before.

    He finally managed to get through to Ryas. They agreed to meet at a small restaurant close to the young officer’s office, where they’d dined several times in the past. There was usually someone performing on the pulunkel, and on weekends, a smoky-voiced human woman singing traditional Corellian songs of lovers lost or parting. Niall wasn’t too hungry, but he did order an ale and a plate of spice bites while he waited for his fiancé.

    Ryas came through the door, breathless, and dropped into a chair. “Am I late? Have you been waiting long?” he gasped.

    Niall smiled. “Not long.” He leaned over to kiss his beautiful man. Ryas was scowling. “Bad day at work?”

    The young officer nodded, and punched his order into the console at the table. He looked from side to side, making sure no one was listening, then leaned forward. “They destroyed the Death Star.”

    “The what?” Niall had never heard of it.

    “The…” Ryas looked around and lowered his voice even more. “The new battle station. The Rebels destroyed it. Moff Tarkin is dead. They say Lord Vader is missing. It’s a mess! The whole office is going crazy.” Niall could only stare.

    He wasn’t sorry, of course. Vengeance wasn’t supposed to be a desirable trait on his homeworld, but he couldn’t help but be glad that the weapon which had destroyed all the familiar things he loved had been destroyed itself. No other world would face the horror that had befallen his. But even so… “How?” he asked. The Rebels weren’t all that strong, as far as he knew. How could they possibly have taken out something as powerful as that battle station?

    Ryas made a face. “Scarif,” he said. “Remember I said they attacked the archives there? Well, apparently they stole the designs, and found some sort of weakness. They attacked late last night.” He went silent as a server came up, leaving two bottles of ale, a shot of Whyren’s, and a large, savory meatpie in front of him.

    “So, it’s gone?”

    Ryas nodded, taking a long swallow of ale. “Several hundred billions of taxpayer credits, now just so much salvage.” He drank the shot, finished the first bottle of ale, and set in on the pie.

    Niall was silent for a moment. A small, undisciplined and disorganized group of terrorists had destroyed the most powerful, sophisticated weapon that had ever existed. Somehow. Incredible. He leaned back in his chair. “Well,” he said, “I can’t pretend I’m sorry to hear it.”

    Ryas choked, swallowed, and stared at Niall. “How can you say that?” he demanded. “Over a million people died on that battle station! And some of them were my friends!”

    “Over two billion people died on Alderaan,” replied Niall. “And many of them were my friends. And my family. My blood-kin.” He hesitated. “There is a saying on my world…well, there was a saying on my world. If you live by the blade, you die by the blade. Those who live by warfare usually die as a result of the warfare.” He took a deep breath, and looked Ryas in the eyes. “I’m not going to join the Surgical Corps. In fact, I…I think…I would like you to resign your commission.”

    The dark-haired man stared at him in shock. “What?”

    “I want you to resign.”

    “You want me to…what?!”

    Niall frowned. “You’re always nagging me to join the Imperial Navy, to work for the Emperor. Under the circumstances, I can’t see myself doing that now. And I’m not comfortable knowing that you’re wearing the uniform of the people who killed the ones I love. Plus, as long as you’re wearing that uniform, you’re a target, too. So, I’d like you to resign your commission. Go into civil life. There are always jobs for engineers.”

    Ryas scowled. “You’ve lost your mind!”


    “No? “ Ryas took a deep breath. “Look,” he said, “I know you’re upset about your parents, of course you should be. They were wonderful people, and I was looking forward to being able to call them family, too. And yeah, Tarkin could have, should have, found some other way to deal with the problem of the Rebels there. But…we need to move forward. I’m getting a transfer to a new job, a big project, worth a lot more money AND a fat promotion. If I don’t take this now, it could be years before I get another chance like this.”

    “What’s the project?” said Niall.

    Ryas frowned. “I don’t know.”

    “How could you not know?”

    “They just said it’s top secret; we won’t know until we’ve committed ourselves to the transfer, and I can’t do that unless I know you’ll be with me.”

    “And what if they’re building another ‘Death Star’, you called it?”

    Ryas looked puzzled. “Building another one?”

    “Do you think it’s a possibility?”

    Ryas hesitated. “I have no idea,” he admitted. “We’ve been—“ he glanced around the restaurant and lowered his voice. “We’ve been analyzing the initial reports we’d gotten back, that’s why things have been crazy. But…”

    “They built one. They could build another, especially now that the prototype is gone, right?”

    Ryas pushed away his half-eaten pie and gulped from the second bottle of ale. “Look, it doesn’t matter what the new project is,” he said.

    “It matters to me.” Niall crossed his arms. “If I knew you were building a new swimming pool for the Emperor’s Summer Palace, I might be okay with this. Or if you were building a garrison hospital. But you don’t know what you’re working on. A new weapon? A new battle station?”

    “I don’t know!”

    “How many people will die because of this special secret new project?” Niall steeled himself at the look of shock he was getting from Ryas. He hated confrontation; that wasn’t the way things worked on Alderaan. But sometimes, he supposed, you had to fight for your beliefs.

    “I don’t—“ Ryas scowled. “I’m an officer!”

    “You’re an engineer, a builder!”

    “There’s a war on, people die in war, sometimes the wrong people, sometimes innocent people.”

    “Like the people in Embarkation Square? Who had gone to honor the dead of my homeworld? Who had a legal permit to be there?” Niall took a deep breath. “Ryas, you know who I am. I was raised—“

    “Stow it!” Ryas pushed himself back from the table. “You were raised by cowards and weaklings who acted all holier than thou about not carrying weapons while secretly supporting Rebel terrorists!” Niall caught his breath, with a sharp pang of pain in his chest. Cowards and weaklings?

    “My family never—“

    Ryas was getting up, though. He downed the last bottle of ale and glared at Niall. “Clearly your grief has clouded your judgment,” he said. “When you stop boo-hooing and come to your senses, give me a call.” He stormed out leaving Niall to stare at his half-finished meal. The food was cold when Niall finally punched his credit chit into the payment slot on the console.

    * * *
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    I had hoped so much for Ryas and Niall that they could comfort one another, remember the things that once brought them together. But now this has turned into a crying game... as it is fitting for the Celtic challenge.
  9. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    It's too bad that they are both blaming each other for what happened.
  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Tiny wee font warning: THERE IS A TINY WEE FONT. :p

    And while I got stuff wrong - and boy, am I glad that I did and that these two did not die - Niall's request was followed by a very (un)lucky guess ad I am wondering what is going to happen there. Ryas was just a total kriffslider here.

  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Whoa nelly! This just got serious. Both men are showing their true colors here, though in totally different ways. Niall finally musters the courage to speak his real feelings to Ryas about what the Empire's fancy "projects" have done to his family and homeworld, while Ryas's vitriolically defensive response shows without a doubt what we kind of feared from the very moment he started kvelling about the new battle station earlier on—that yes, unfortunately, the Empire does matter to him than his beloved. "Cowards and weaklings"—really, just REALLY?! :eek: Wow, I have no words there... I am highly doubtful that any sort of reconciiliation can happen for these two at this point... though who knows but you may surprise us yet again.

    This story just keeps going in wonderful new directions of complexity at every turn, and taking the themes of the song in wonderful new directions! Truly amazing work. :cool:
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  12. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Stubborness, blindness, pride... This was never going to end well. :(

    Or maybe blaming each other for their responses to what happened? Better than facing uncomfortable truths...

    Sorry, sorry, I'm not sure what happened. I tried to make it bigger and now it seems huge to me.

    Agree, it was out of line.

    I'd say they both have a lot to lose, but Niall has already lost pretty much everything. :(

    And to the Loyal Lurkers (I know you're out there, I see the page views!), hope you're enjoying this, too, and thank you for reading!

    Oh, and to everyone who nominated Hobbie's Law for the Fanfic Awards (in multiple categories :eek:!), thank you all so much! [face_blush] Mel is planning her wardrobe for the red carpet, and Kess is pretending to be all humble, but she's thrilled as well.

    So... Niall is dealing with heartbreak, but there are a few posts to go...

    * * *

    The week was nearly over and he really wanted to go back to work. While Dr. Pocrate’s order was kindly meant, Niall had too much time on his hands. Normally, if there was a death in the family, someone would be making funeral arrangements, settling the estate, sorting through personal possessions and determining what to do with old clothes and books. But he didn’t have to do any of that. His family’s property had all been on Alderaan, the investments, the real estate… Everything that was left of them was in his apartment. A few holos, flatpics, a small glass sculpture, a print…precious little.

    He looked into the wine cooler. Whenever he went home for a visit, his brother-in-law Melos sent him back with a crate of wines from the vineyard. There were five bottles left. A thought went across his mind, and he picked up one of the bottles, a slightly sweet white, and put it in a gift tube. Then, he went out.

    The clothing shop was still closed. He bit his lip, wondering if the proprietor had been at the vigil. He went into the place next store, a leather goods shop, and smiled at the salesclerk. “Excuse me,” he said. “The lady next door…do you have any idea where I can reach her?”

    The clerk eyed him warily. “Are you with CorSec?” she asked.

    “No, no. I’m a doctor at Charity. I..I have a gift for her. I mean her no harm.”

    The sales clerk cocked her head, studying him. Then she nodded. “Her family live upstairs, top floor.”

    “Thank you.” He skipped the repulsorlift in favor of the stairs. He was a little winded by the time he got to the door, but the activity felt good. Hesitantly, he pressed the door summons.

    There was a long pause, then a young girl opened it, eyeing him uncertainly. Her hair was a pale red, and her eyes were dark brown, nervous.

    “Hi,” he said. “I’m Niall Antilles. I…was looking for the shop owner. I have a gift for her.”

    The girl looked him up and down and called over her shoulder, “Mavva?” A woman appeared, middle-aged. Her russet hair was liberally sprinkled with gray and her eyes were red and swollen.

    “Can I help you?” she asked.

    Niall took a deep breath. “I’m Niall Antilles. I’m…I’m from Seramiaport, near Takayla Bay?” The woman’s eyes widened.

    “’re from Alderaan!” she breathed.

    He nodded. “I’m a doctor at Charity, I came to Corellia to do some advanced training. But...I… well, I’ve always admired your work. I live nearby, and I walk by your shop all the time. After…well, with all…” He grimaced. “I’m sorry, I just…I wanted to give you a gift.” He held out the gift tube.

    The woman took it and opened it. Her eyes filled with tears. “Pavanne,” she said softly. “This was my mother’s favorite!”

    Niall swallowed hard. “My mother’s, too.”

    “And…you’re giving this to me? Why?”

    “Because…because now…well, those of us who are left, we’re family now, aren’t we? In a way?” Niall took a deep breath. “I’m leaving the planet soon, I can’t take a lot of things with me, and I wanted to make sure that this would be with someone who appreciated it. I’ve seen your work, I knew you’d respect it.” He blinked. Why had he said that? He didn’t plan on going anywhere.

    The woman smiled, as two great tears slid down her cheeks. She handed the bottle off to her daughter, and reached out to hug him. He returned it and for a long moment, they clung to each other wordlessly. Then, she pulled away and smiled again. “Wait here,” she said, turning and disappearing into the back.

    Niall smiled at the girl, who was smiling back at him. “And are you okay? How are you doing?” he asked.

    “I’m okay. I was born here, so I’m Corellian. It’s harder on Mavva.”

    Niall shook his head. “Part of you is Corellian,” he said, “but you will always be a daughter of Alderaan, too. It is something to be proud of, remember that.” The woman returned with a bundle in her hands and held it out to him. He took it, soft cloth in a delicate green…the color of the new corley.

    “Here,” she said. He shook it out. It was a shirt, a man’s shirt, silky, with elegant, simple lines and an asymmetrical fastening. Alderaanian. His eyes widened. “I’ve been designing for women,” she explained, “but a lot of my ladies are asking me for things for their menfolk, so I’ve been playing around, thinking of expanding my line.” She touched a pintuck detail on the cuff. “I’m not entirely happy, but this, I think, is the best so far. Please, if you’re going off-world, take it with you. And whenever you wear it…”

    He nodded. He didn’t have to be reminded of home. Specific details might fade over time, but Alderaan would live in his heart and mind to the day he died. “Thank you so much,” he said, tucking it under his arm. The lady held his hands.

    “May peace walk with you,” she said. “And may the stars watch over you.” Niall felt his eyes filling. The old Alderaanian blessing. He gave her one more fierce hug, and then headed back to the apartment. He needed to see Dr. Pocrates. But the path before him was growing clearer. He had to be true to Alderaan. To fight for those values.

    * * *
    Chyntuck, divapilot, Kahara and 3 others like this.
  13. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    Looks like Niall has made his decision and it sounds like he is going to leave the Empire to be with Ryas.
    AzureAngel2 and Mistress_Renata like this.
  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    This scene is so beautiful. The old lady and Niall exploring their identities - and Mavva's. Seriously, the whole business of belonging is so hard where one's body and one's soul are not in the same place.

    That makes me wonder: by destruction of Alderaan, did the soul of Alderaani people living in other star systems become troubled? The old lady thinks that CorSec is looking for her, Niall has problems sorting his personal life and might be kind of manically giving away the things that remind him of his dead family because it hurts him so much.

    At the same time, yes, this is like Holocaust - all Alderaani are each other now, they are like one big family and they have to stick together!

    Great, great update!
  15. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 13, 2005
    And thank you, @Pandora, for giving me a challenge that stretched me beyond what I thought I'd produce (I swear, I thought this would be 3 posts & done).

    You're welcome, but I would like to emphasis that I don't run things alone--I co-host the challenge with Findswoman.


    And now it is time to play catch-up: I had a good idea what choice Niall would make once he had reached that point, and it did not seem predictable as much as inevitable. Niall always knew, deep down, what he must do, even if he hadn't admitted as much to himself: he was Alderaanian before he ever met Ryas, and one's culture takes on all the more significance when it has received a near death-blow. But I did not expect that he would, after his initial hesitation, come straight out and ask Ryas to resign his position. It is most definitely not the Alderaanian way, which shows how important this was to Niall. But Ryas took it about as badly as I suspected, and Niall ought to have suspected, he would.

    Niall was making a request similar to that Ryas had made of him, but Ryas' reaction shows he doesn't see it that way. We learn that Ryas is an engineer (which explains, at least to me, why he sees the Death Star the way he does, more as an exceptional feat of engineering than the destroyer of worlds), but otherwise, his background is still unknown, and I rather suspect that is going to remain the case. But it is obvious to me--whether he is alone in the world/galaxy without a family or not, as I have wondered before--that his post in the Empire gives him a sense of purpose, of belonging. And he was a part of that long before he ever met Niall.

    It is said that when people lash out in anger, they say things they don't really mean; but it has also been said that they speak truly the things they ordinarily keep to themselves. I couldn't say which is the case with Ryas in the scene at the restaurant, but it doesn't change the results. It seems clear, in the next scene, that Niall and Ryas have not spoken again. (Ryas isn't even mentioned, though that may not mean all that much.) Even though it is on him to make amends, Ryas did make it clear he was leaving the conversation ball in Niall's court.

    As this story has continued, I have suspected, more and more, that the wedding Niall and Ryas were planning at the beginning is not ever going to take place. And now Niall has made--almost guided by his sub-conscious--another choice, and one that looks like it may lead him into joining the rebellion. Which leads me to a speculation of my own:

    That Niall and Ryas will meet again--as enemies on different sides of the galactic conflict.

    Niall indeed has harder choices to make than the speaker of "The Wind that Shakes the Barley:" His choice was not only made for him, but made ever more simple, more justified, when his true love was killed and he had nothing more to lose. Niall's choice may be morally clear, but it also is emotionally messy; he will still lose his lover, when he has already lost so much. Ryas may be flawed, he may be making the wrong choices of his own, but he is still the man Niall loved and wanted to marry. There is definitely more pain, Celtic ballad style, on the way.
  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    A lovely chapter. Given all the twists and turns that this story has taken so far, and given the huge upheaval of the previous chapter, it's kind of refreshing (in a way) to see Niall getting this sweet moment of connection with someone else who has lost as much as he has. Those small moments mean so much in such tragic times—and when they come in conjunction with beautiful, meaningful gifts like the ones Niall and the shopkeeper exchange, it's even better, because then things are no longer just momentary.

    But there’s another side here, too, at which you do hint toward the end: besides giving Niall’s soul that lift it so sorely needs in this time of trouble, this meeting is also strengthening his resolve to be loyal to Alderaan—and, I’m guessing, by extension, to eventually say no to the man he once was going to marry. So behind what looks like a beautiful moment of resolution there’s still a dark shadow lurking—and I must say that Pandora ’s theory beneath the spoiler cut certainly seems plausible. [face_thinking]

    I had been curious about the shopkeeper and figured she’d come back into the story somehow, and this is the perfect way for her to. (I’m guessing “Mavva” essentially means “Mama”?)

    As always, can’t wait for more of this complex and many-layered tale! :cool:
  17. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Sorry! I got behind (again). But UGH. RYAS IS SUCH A JERK. I just want to slap him upside the head. Great job getting me irrationally angry at a fictional character :p

    But I’m glad Niall has found others like him who can share their love and their memories. Great updates.
  18. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    “Because…because now…well, those of us who are left, we’re family now, aren’t we? In a way?” Niall took a deep breath. “I’m leaving the planet soon, I can’t take a lot of things with me, and I wanted to make sure that this would be with someone who appreciated it. I’ve seen your work, I knew you’d respect it.” He blinked. Why had he said that? He didn’t plan on going anywhere.

    Deep, deep emotions shown here. I needed a lot of handkerchiefs. Could not cry yesterday when about 18 of my 37 kids and their families plus my kindergarten colleges said good-bye to me during my party. But your fic helped out. Thank you!

    I like the fact that people bond over a tragedy at times, even strangers. There is some kindness left in the galaxy that Palpatine tries to sharpen.
  19. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Sometimes a good cry out helps. And yes, I think under Palpatine, every act of kindness and compassion is an act of sedition. :D

    Ha, ha, it's not as if you don't have a good excuse! In a few days, it will all be over and you can take a deep breath. I get ticked off at fictional characters, too. I've got a list of fictional characters who never want to approach me when I'm holding a blaster.

    I do think that your origins are always a base part of you. I live far from where I grew up, but part of me is still there, and thinks of myself as a New England girl, although I've lived away for nearly 30 years.

    I didn't know this, but it doesn't surprise me, that the multi-talented and musically inclined Findswoman would have a hand in this!

    Yes, exactly! Because I figured that just following the song would be too easy (*whacks herself upside the head*)

    Yes, I decided that I was tired of using Mom all the time. So, Mavva. The shopkeeper wasn't in particular danger of arrest, since I don't think that simply being from Alderaan is a crime, but of course she is suffering like Niall. And yes, I think the few who remain will have to draw closer and hold tightly to what is left of their culture.

    Leave the Empire, yes, but Ryas won't be with him, unless he has a serious change of heart...

    And a final farewell to Dr. Pocrates.

    * * *

    Pocrates was in his office when Niall was announced, and waved him in. Niall did, closing the old-fashioned wooden door behind him. He took a deep breath. “I…I am withdrawing from the program,” he said.

    Pocrates cocked one ear, and his whiskers twitched. “Ah. Decided to go along with your young man, then?”

    “No.” Niall took a deep breath. “No, I’m not.” He pulled out a slim datachit from his pocket and slid it across the desk to his mentor. “That’s my formal resignation.”

    Pocrates picked it up, and looked at it, then slipped it into the reader of his desktop datacenter. He tapped in a set of commands, then typed for a while longer. “So. You are withdrawing from the program, but you are not going with your young man.”

    “N-no, sir. We’re…um, we’re breaking it off. And…and I wanted to give you a gift. Just…” He reached into his satchel and produced a gift tube.

    Pocrates stopped typing and opened it. His ears pricked up. “Sazra!” he said, with pleasure.

    “This comes from my brother-in-law’s vineyards,” explained Niall. “I’d like for it to go to someone who will appreciate it.”

    Pocrates admired the deep red of the bottle, an indicator of the rich wine inside of it, then put the bottle to one side of the desk, and leaned forward to stare at Niall intently. “You are withdrawing from the program, you are leaving your young man, and you are giving away your possessions, shortly after you’ve experienced a traumatic episode. You do know these are all warning signs, Dr. Antilles. I must ask you, are you planning to harm yourself? Or end yourself? I am obligated to put you under psychiatric watch, you know.”

    “No, no, no,” said Niall. “Nothing like that. Well, maybe like that, depending on how things work out. But not by choice.” Pocrates continued to stare at him, unblinking, his paws folded on the desk in front of him. Niall squirmed. “I can’t really tell you,” he said, as the silence lengthened. “It would be dangerous. For both of us.” Pocrates flattened one ear, but continued to stare, patiently. Niall caved.

    “Okay,” he said, “I’ve…I’ve decided…” He took a deep breath. “I’ve decided to join the Rebellion.”

    Pocrates sat back, with his ears fully perked up, but nodded slightly.

    Niall exhaled, glad to be able to share it with at least one other person. “I love Ryas, but I can’t love what he does and what he stands for. He thinks that he is part of a system of law and order, without seeing the repression and fear that the Empire spreads. At least, I hope he doesn’t see it. I hope he isn’t seeing it, but pretending that it’s somehow justified. And while I think he loves me, in his own way, he doesn’t…he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get me. He thinks that not supporting the Emperor is a sign of weakness or cowardice or treason.

    “But…but I’ve been thinking about it, and…I can’t support the Emperor. Or the Empire. I support the galaxy, and the people of the galaxy. Alderaan was for peace, and I will never stop working for that. But I guess now I have to fight for it. To ensure that no one else ever loses the people and the things they love the way I have.” Niall looked down at the desk. “I may not be much use,” he added. “I can’t fly a starship, and I’ve never held a blaster, but I guess I can learn.” He looked at Pocrates. “Do you think I’m wrong? Am I doing the right thing?”

    Pocrates cocked an ear. “How do you mean?”

    Niall stared down at his hands, in fists in his lap. “My parents didn’t raise me to be a soldier,” he said. “I don’t think they’d approve.”

    Pocrates rolled his eyes. “So? Practice your craft.” Niall looked blank. The Drall sighed. “You would not remember the Clone Wars, you were just a child. But I remember.” For a moment his eyes unfocused, looking far away into a memory. Then he shook his head. “It is my experience that soldiers engaged in a war are glad to have a doctor around. And you’ve had plenty of experience with trauma surgery, I am sure they will find you an asset.”

    He got up from his desk and went to a set of drawers on the side of the room, rummaging inside, and pulling out a small, grimy canvas pouch which he placed on the desk. When he nodded his permission, Niall opened it. Laser scalpels, microvibroblades, diagnostic rods, collapsible boneknitters…a surgical field kit.

    “You’d better take it with you,” continued Pocrates, typing furiously. “And I wouldn’t worry. I never had to carry a blaster. I wouldn’t have known how to use one, either.” After a moment, the datacenter spit out a datacard, which he handed to Niall. “Here you are. A copy of your performance reports, all excellent of course, and my personal reference for you. Wherever you go, it may be of use.”

    Niall frowned. “If I make it to the Rebellion and I’m captured by the Empire, this could get you in trouble,” he said.

    “How so? This is a generic recommendation for any institution. If you decide, when you walk out this door, to go to the Royal Imperial Medical Complex on Coruscant, it should hold just as much weight. After all, I don’t know for sure how serious you are. For all I know, you’ll end up joining the Imperial Surgical Corps after all.” He stood up and came around the desk to clasp Niall’s hand. “Fair skies and a tailwind,” he said. Niall smiled at the traditional Corellian farewell.

    “Thank you, sir,” he said. “And may I say that it has been…well, not just an honor, but also a pleasure to work with you.”

    He put the field kit in his satchel and started towards the door.

    “Oh, by the way,” said Pocrates. “If, in your…’travels’…you should happen to run into a Dr. Alix Premmis or a Dr. Hestor Saxx? Do feel free to mention my name. And give them my regards.”

    Niall nodded, and left then. His heart was pounding. This was crazy, this was crazy, this was crazy. But it felt…right.
  20. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    It's great that Niall is joining the Rebellion, but I wonder if his path will cross with Ryas again.
  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Neither staying with his program, nor going with Ryas... now I too see what Niall's big decision is! I suppose it's not totally surprising, given the direction things have been going. And of course, huge props to Pocrates not only for being so understanding and encouraging of his choice but also for the wonderful gift of the field medic's kit. That, along with the names of the friends he mentions, makes me wonder if [hl=black]Pocrates himself still has or had some Rebellion connections himself[/hl], and if so [hl=black]why he may have left their service[/hl]. Niall's huge caution about mentioning his plan to Pocrates is very believable; us readers know the Rebels are the "good guys," but not everyone in-universe does at this stage in Galactic history, and it is definitely the kind of thing that could get him into HUGE trouble if it's known.

    And of course, like RX_Sith, though, I can't help but wonder if the two former lovers will eventually meet on the field of battle. That indeed would take the theme of the "Barley" song up to about eleven! But then, you've taken this story in so many interesting directions that have all fit with the theme of the song, so any number of cool things are possible, and I'll look forward to what's next. :cool:
  22. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    My guess is that Niall WILL run into one of these beings mentioned. And Pocrates has [hl='black']got to be related to the Rebellion somehow[/hl]! Why the heck isn't Niall surprised about it? Is he so shaken by everything that has happened to him recently, that he just cannot say anything about it or that he doesn't even notice that somebody happens to know too much?

    And wow, what masterfully executed conversation dynamics we have here. Pocrates is initially worried, then surprised and, in the end, he basically gives Niall an all-clear. A suicide or self-harm would be dangerous, but joining the Rebellion? Nah, that's totally harmless and it can't lead to anything dangerous, no-siree! No options of being a moving target, being beheaded, dying in the cold vacuum of space, nooope. :D
  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Doctor Pocrates is wise when he wants Niall to fight the Empire from a battle ground that the young man is familiar with: the ER. =D=

    Let´s see where we go from there.
  24. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Just a note to say that I'm thoroughly hooked on this story and devour each new update as it appears. Which you probably know from all the "likes", but hey, everyone loves comments. :p

    It's really nifty how you've taken the original song and given it a different spin; here the thing that parts the lovers isn't a freak accident but their very different priorities. It's all the more painful to see, since I get the feeling that Ryas really did (and maybe does, in spite of his harsh words) care for Niall. Though choosing an organization like the Empire over the one you love IN THE WAKE OF THEM BLOWING UP HIS WHOLE WORLD shows he's more self-centered than Niall realized. :( I'm both curious and dreading where this is all going to lead. But at the same time, I'm sort of glad for Niall, in that he's finding a pathway forward that he can be proud of. Just wish that heartbreak wasn't such a part of it, and I have a bad feeling on that count...
    Findswoman, AzureAngel2 and Ewok Poet like this.
  25. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 13, 2005
    I can't say that I'm surprised to see Niall taking this step here--just as the speaker of "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" joined the United Irishmen to fight for his homeland, Niall is fighting for the memory of Alderaan, and what it stood for, by actively rebelling and joining the rebellion. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I suspect that the destruction of that world led more than a few people away from neutrality and into the rebellion's ranks. Of course, making that decision was probably the easier part; now he has to find an "in" into an organization that, in order to merely survive, exists in the secret cracks of the galaxy.

    And while joining the rebellion may be the morally right choice, it is not one without issues: the rebellion is a military organization, and Niall is a pacifist, and not (unlike certain ones I hardly need to name) one who is absurdly good with firing a blaster. He has never so much as held one, and would be more likely to shoot himself in the foot. But as Dr. Pocrates points out, he has other skills that will be of use to them.

    As for his relationship with Ryas--Niall admits, and possibly aloud for the first time, what I already knew. It's over. I can only wonder if it would have ended eventually, even without the catalyst of Alderaan's destruction, given their very different loyalties. But their overall narrative arc does not feel complete, and I feel more than ever that the spoiler in my previous comment is a very likely possibility.

    Finally, and on a different note: I do like the way you describe how Dr. Pocrates expresses himself with his ears and whiskers. Perhaps it is just because I have spent years observing feline ears, but an arched ear really is the equivalent of a raised eyebrow.