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Awards ~*~ The Winter 2002 Fan Fiction Awards - Voting Thread ~*~

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Amidala_Skywalker, Apr 6, 2003.

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  1. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001
    The Winter 2002 Fan Fiction Awards
    Voting Thread


    Welcome to the 2002/2003 Winter Jedi Council Fanfiction Awards Voting thread. I apologise for the delay, but as many know, formatting the awards is a major undertaking. After this, I?m tempted to take a long three-week vacation from HTML or anything resembling computer code. A trip to the Bahamas sounds nice this time of year ;).

    Now, as per usual, I have listed the rules, the fanfiction nominated, and the excerpts. I hope you will have no trouble navigating your way around this thread. I do, however, ask that you not post here. If you have any concerns, please send me a PM.

    The nominations will roughly finish in two weeks time. For the record, voting has commenced on the 6th of April at 12:00 PM PST (board time). It will conclude on the 20th of April at 12:00 PM PST (board time).

    Special thanks: My gratitude goes out to the women who tirelessly helped me compile the links for hours on end. Thank you all so much. Your devotion and unyielding effort helped me maintain my sanity.


    Rules, Restrictions, Advisories, and Repercussions (Version 2)

    [blockquote]You are not permitted to post on this thread. All concerns/votes are to be sent by PM to the award moderator. If you post on this thread accidentally, it will be removed by the member of the administration.

    Votes must be submitted to me (Amidala_Skywalker) by PM. There are no exceptions.

    You may vote only once in each category.

    You are not permitted to vote with a sock. Do not think you won?t be found out, because you will.

    At no point in time are you permitted to vote for yourself. It is considered unjust to all participants and only further decimates the authenticity of the nominations.

    You are not allowed to vote for a story more than four (4) times. Example: You may vote for ?Clutched Diamonds? in the ?Readers? Choice Drama Story?, ?Readers? Choice In-Progress NJO Story?, and ?Readers? Choice Imaginative Story? categories, and for its author ? but you may not exceed that number. In this case, all categories are counted. The limit for the number of categories one single author can be nominated is six (6).

    Authors: You are not permitted to force your readers into voting. You may advertise that there is an award show in progress, and provide the link, but you are not allowed to enforce conditions on your readers ? such as withholding a promised post ? if they do not vote. If I find out ? or have it reported to me ? that you have broken this rule, the votes for that particular story will be discounted entirely. That story will be cast out of the running.

    It is advised that you place a nomination with at least eight categories filled. This is not mandatory, but recommended. You may choose to ignore this advisory; although it is fairer for all involved if you nominate a variety.

    You are advised not to vote for a story due to its popularity. Voting for a story which you enjoy is much more satisfying to yourself and for the author of that said story.

    Voters are advised to provide a paragraph on the story they?re voting for, detailing why they are doing so and what they love about the story. These paragraphs will be sent by PM to the awards moderator. If you have already sent in paragraphs during the nomination round, you may submit more if you so please. Those who vote and have not written paragraphs will be asked if they would like to submit. In no circumstances is this paragraph to be discriminative. It is not necessary to complete a paragraph for each story you are voting for ? you only need to do so when you think it is needed. When the awards are presented, these quotes will be posted with the names of the authors missing. Meaning when you write this paragraph, you will not be identified. This is not mandatory, but strongly insisted. This was suggested in the effort to have every author awarded with something ? whether it be a title or an encouraging comment. Consider it
  2. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=royalblue]Readers? Choice AU Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=darkslateblue](Start category excerpts)[/color][/b]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Some Other Future?s Past?[/i] by [color=red]Chaos_Rose[/b][/color]

    The late afternoon sunlight came at a shallow angle through the windows of the Guest's Hall in the Great Palace. On the horizon, anvil shaped thunderheads boiled over the tops of the hills visible from the ten-meter high stained glass windows. In the middle of the Guest's Hall, twelve chairs of Nubian greel wood had been arranged in a semi-circle on the rose marble floor.

    A small green being stood before a tall, somewhat haggard young man who waited with an air of deepest patience to hear what his superiors had to say.

    "Trained the boy will not be."

    It was one of the few times that Obi-Wan understood just why his master had bucked the Council's edicts so many times. He would have given anything for Qui-Gon's presence and his ability to push the buttons of the younger members of the 'Old Folks home.' Unfortunately, Gui-Gon was comatose in a tank of bacta, recovering from the injuries sustained in his duel with the tattooed Sith.

    "But masters, the boy's potential?" He might not have his master's facility with words, but he was determined to make the Council see the facts.

    Mace Windu cut him off with a brusque gesture. "If that potential is never developed, so much the better. We will return the boy to his mother on Tattooine, from where he never should have been taken."

    "You can't send him back there! The Trade Federation will put a price on his head with all the publicity he's received! If the Sith get hold of him they could?"

    "Do you really believe, Knight Kenobi, that the Sith are concerned at all with a nine-year-old child?" This time it was Ki-Adi-Mundi who interrupted, more mildly than Master Windu, but firmly nonetheless. "Master Jinn is led more by his love of ancient prophecy than of reality.

    "No more argument will we hear! " Yoda's cane struck a sharp report that echoed down the throat of the Hall. "The Council has spoken. Convey our will to the boy you will."

    Even as he bowed, Obi-Wan gritted his teeth. He had to speak with Qui-Gon!

    "I believe that Anakin is with the Queen for the morning meal, but I will seek him out after I see my mas? I mean, Master Jinn."

    The young Knight once thought it impossible to discomfit the entire Council, but not a one of them could meet his gaze.

    "Taken back to Coruscant, Qui-Gon Jinn has been. Healers will see to him during his retreat." Yoda folded his hands on the knob of his cane, fixing Obi-Wan with a gimlet stare. "Unbalanced has he become, in need of solitude and meditation he is so that he might know the will of the Force."

    Obi-Wan's knees nearly unhinged in shock. Enforced retreat was a punishment second only to expulsion. To even think about his life-loving master in such straits was even more distressing than seeing him struck by the Sith's blade.

    "You are dismissed, Knight Kenobi. Make arrangements for the boy's return to his homeworld." Mace Windu stood, wrapping himself is robes and finality. "We will speak with you at length upon your return to Coruscant."

    The Council filed out, leaving Obi-Wan Kenobi staring at a crescent of empty chairs and wondering why he was so worried at what the young Nubian Queen was going to do when she heard of the Council's edict.


    [b]Except from [i]?The Scoundrel Chronicles?[/i] by [color=red]Coota[/b][/color]

    Han sighed as he stared at the Princess, sitting regally in her chamber aboard the transport Alderaan?s Memory. He couldn?t help but feel that the transports name was a perversion of sorts. He felt that if she really remembered Alderaan, she wouldn?t be running away. However, he reminded himself to keep any anger out of his voice.

    ?So, sweetheart, I guess this is it.?

    ?I suppose so. Luke didn?t change his mind, did he??

    ?I did my best to make sure that he didn?t. He?s coming with me, Janson, Hobbie and Chewbacca.?
  3. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=forestgreen]Readers? Choice Drama Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=firebrick](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Stars in the Darkness?[/i] by [color=red]Arwyn_Whitesun[/b][/color]

    Anakin hunched down, his eyes peering through the thick, dark green foliage to the thicket ahead. On both sides of him he knew the members of the Gowri hunting band were also well hidden behind the trees. For the past two days he, Obi-Wan and the Gowri had been hunting a pack of manasa, the fierce, deadly predators of Raggan. The pack had attacked some Gowri females who had been gathering herbs near the village. One of the females had been killed, three others wounded.

    The wind, which was thick with the piney scent of the trees was, fortunately, blowing towards Anakin and the hunting band, so the manasa could not smell them. Nigal, chief of the Green River tribe, had warned Obi-Wan and Anakin that the pack that attacked the Gowri women was led by a female they called the Old One. She was aged, but she was also cunning and vicious. The hunting party had finally tracked the Old One and her pack's spoor to Red Top Mountain. Obi-Wan and Nigal had scouted around and discovered a cave hidden behind the copse of trees ahead.

    Anakin glanced over at Meeko. Like all Gowri males, he had leathery brown skin and a wide, powerful chest. His flat-featured face was covered with short, dark hair and his long pointed ears twitched eagerly. Over the two weeks Anakin and Obi-Wan had been on Raggan, the young Jedi had become especially close to Meeko. Maybe because, in Gowri age, Meeko was the closest to Anakin's and, like him, was considered something of a novice, an apprentice so to speak, to the older, more experienced hunters.

    Meeko grinned at Anakin, his round tawny eyes glittering in the darkness of the tress. His long, gray stone blowpipe was in his hand, ready to be used at a moment's notice. Anakin also carried a blowpipe and, like Meeko, was dressed only in a dark green loincloth. His body had been painted by the Gowri females to help him blend in with the trees. Anakin grinned back at Meeko, then shifted his gaze over to where he could just make out Obi-Wan as he and Nigal moved silently through the trees. Like Anakin, Obi-Wan wore only a loincloth, his body painted in swirling colors of green, black and deep brown. He also carried a stone blowpipe.

    When Obi-Wan, once they'd departed from Nida, told Anakin that they were going to make a stop at Raggan, Anakin had been surprised. The planet was a remote world located just on the edge of Hutt Space. It had no industry nor large cities. It was a protected world, one of the few the Republic had set aside as forbidden for any kind of industrialization or exploitation, therefore it was lush, wild and dangerous. The Jedi were allowed to visit it and use it for survival training. Obi-Wan had brought Anakin to Raggan when he was ten. The two had spent three weeks here, with Obi-Wan often leaving Anakin alone for days on end so that he could learn to survive on his own. It had been a frightening and exhilarating experience.

    Therefore, Anakin had looked forward to returning to Raggan and its inhabitants, the Gowri. Living totally without technology of any kind, the Gowri had fascinated Anakin. Although they'd kept pretty much to themselves when Obi-Wan and Anakin were here for his survival training, Anakin knew Obi-Wan had a close relationship with Nigal, leader of the Green River Tribe. Though how or when that relationship had developed, Anakin had no clue. But, he mulled, as the wind picked up a bit and dried the sweat on his face, his master knew lots of different kinds of beings. Take that so-called chef back on Coruscant, the Besalik Dexter Jettster. Who would have thought someone like Obi-Wan would not only know, but be close friends with such a person. But he was.

    As for why Obi-Wan had decided to delay his and Anakin's return to Coruscant by stopping off on Raggan, Anakin had his suspicions, for he'd noted that since hearing >
  4. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=crimson]Readers? Choice Action Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=darkorchid](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Redemption of a Jedi?[/i] by [color=red]Cam_Mulonus[/b][/color]

    Cam Mulonus hit the accelerator, and his swoop flew away from the Dredd Compound. He held onto the handlebars tightly as his swoop leaped over the edge of the cliff and landed on the beach, repulsors stopping him from crashing into the sand. He pushed the swoop to its limits, and the engine whined as Cam's modified accelerators shoved it into overdrive. All objects on the beach became a blur as he flew by them. A massive rock wall lay on his right, the sandy beach underneath him, and the Great Ocean to his left.

    Finally, he came upon the Sith known as Darth Furor. A rock jetty, about four meters tall, and extended all the way across the beach and out about ten meters into the water. It was this that had halted Darth . Furor had stopped. His speederbike behind him, and Adela lay unconscious by the speederbike. Cam cut the thrusters and leaned the swoop right as he tried to slow it. It came to a halt about fifteen feet from Furor, whom was patiently waiting with an evil grin on his face.

    Cam shut the swoop down and quickly jumped off, sending sand flying as he came down on his feet.

    A somewhat rough wind blew each fighter?s hair around. Waves crashed all about them, making loud splashes. Sand blew around them all. The glorious sunset adding a mood of epicness to the scene. One could not picture a more perfect battleground.

    The two stood there for some time, staring each other down. Furor finally cast off his cloak, showing his tight, dark grey robes. The Sith?s dreadlocks waving in the wind, the yellow lines running across his Kiffar face looking terrible as usual. He yanked the long lightsaber from his belt and, while skillfully twirling it into position, ignited it.

    Cam pulled his hilt off his belt less skillfully, and simply ignited it with one hand, magenta blade shooting outward.

    Cam cautiously approached, saber between him and Furor. The Sith Apprentice smiled. "The Force is with you, Jedi! I cannot deny you that! Truly, you will be a formidible opponent for a Dark Lord of the Sith!'

    Cam halted, and glared at the murderous opponent. "Yeah, Master Windu told me all about you, Sith Lord! Well, I don't care what you are! First you murder my Uncle, now you kidnap my friend. I will not let you harm anyone else!" He glanced at Adela, her seemingly lifeless body lying behind the tall villain.

    She would not die now. Not while Cam Mulonus had yet strength. He confidently smiled back at Furor. "Hand over the woman!"

    Furor's eyebrows went up, a look of shock coming over him. Letting out a snort, the Dark Lord spoke. "Hand her... over? HAH! Think again, foolish Jedi! You'll have to kill me before I EVER fail Master Irae again!"

    Cam lifted his lightsaber up high, casting his face in a strange purple hue. "THEN SO BE IT!!!"

    Cam leaped at Furor, bringing his purple lightsaber blade down hard at Furor's head. Furor's crimson blade came to block, and knocked away the weak blow easily enough. Cam was quicker than the taller, more powerful Furor though. Mulonus swung left, right, stabbed forward, slashed at the head, twirled around and stabbed again, back facing Furor, who blocked all the attacks.

    It was the proud Sith's turn to make his move. Furor swung hard for Cam's head. The less trained Jedi backflipped, and Furor's blade came down into the beach, sending glassy sand up in the air. The lightsabers hummed, and crackled whenever they hit. Cam again used many different speed attacks on Furor. But the taller man was too experienced, and Furor drove Cam backward with his heavy blows. Cam managed an upward swung that didn't harm Furor, whom had stepped out of the way, but the swing took off many of his beloved shoulder-length dreadlocks.

    Furor now looked ridiculous with steaming short hair on one side, and large dreadlocks on the other. They both swung upw>
  5. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=slategrey]Readers? Choice Romance Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=steelblue](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?You Don?t Bring Me Flowers Anymore?[/i] by [color=red]Amidala_Skywalker[/b][/color]

    ?Trali?a will be worried and start looking for me soon. I better get back. Do you need anything? Credits, clothes, a place to stay, a ship? I have connections.? She frowned, an uneasy shadow covering her face. Han wouldn?t respond or accept charity. ?It feels as though I?ll never see you again.?

    ?I won?t ask you to make a decision you?ve already made in your heart, Leia,? he answered, looking down at her, envisioning an innocent smile plastered across her face. ?Some would say that if I cared for you enough, I?d be willing to let you go.?

    ?Ah, but I have to be willing to let you go, too,? she reminded.

    ?I love you, Leia,? Han exclaimed. The great twister inside his soul burst and exploded with joy, encompassing his body in the radiance of his announcement.

    Grinning, Leia responded, ?I know.?

    He didn?t know how to end it for possibly the last time. Han had come to do what he needed for closure, and only found it harder to do so. Leia was so invigorating to be around. She trapped all men in her web, like helpless creatures that were hers to mould. He had forever been stuck on the threads of her ambush, waiting for her to accept her claim.

    ?I need to get back, Han,? she said. ?But before I go and we walk out of each other?s lives, I?ll leave you with two last gifts.?

    She eagerly retreated from her stance before him, and hurried along a small path erected halfway across the other side of the main garden. She disappeared a few seconds later, coming right back with a small flower, petals ignited by the moonlight.

    ?It?s beautiful, isn?t it?? she asked, captivated by its round pools of shining yellow silkeán and petals rimmed with a striking sprinkle of lilac.

    ?Yes,? Han breathed. ?Like you. Mysterious, delicate, and unique.?

    Lifting the flower, she placed it delicately in his hand. He was careful not to squash the gift with his brute strength. It was likely that it would die in a few days, and the stunning petals would welter ? such a shame for such an exotic creation. This gift Leia had given them represented not only beauty, but also their love.

    May it welter, but never truly die inside.

    ?It reminds me of the shine of the Alderaan sun on a hot day,? came her awed voice. ?Han, if we were in any other situation, I wouldn?t allow you to go. I?d yell, I?d scream, and beg. Why would you leave me? Why would you break us? I need you, and I need us. But I know I can?t say any of this. I may ache for you, though I can?t succumb. I must deny it.?

    ?We?re living a life of denial. Constant denial. Remember when you first fell in love with me, Leia? It was so unexpected. One morning I woke up surrounded by the misery and death of those military bases, and every day for years I did the same thing, but it never mattered. I knew you loved me, and you knew I would always stay by your side. It was the right thing to do ? the only thing to do. We had to fall in love sometime. Now the universe is asking us to hide our feelings in shame. Shame for what? For being ourselves?? His breathing was erratic, and annoyance palpable. ?I don?t think I can. And I don?t think I want to.? With those words, spoke in desperation, the atmosphere of the garden changed, and time seemed to slow.

    ?Han?we [i]must.[/i] Please, understand.? Her eyes held the galaxy and his heart, despite the consequences. He had fallen for her on the first Death Star that day. He couldn?t deny that. Nevertheless, he had to lock away his feelings and throw away the key. He could only keep telling himself that this was all for Leia, all for the woman he loved.

    ?You mentioned a second gift?? Han inquired forlornly, giving her another small, sloppy lop-sided grin that he barely managed to muster.

    Drawing herself up on her toes, her mouth fled to his ear, the barest touch of her li>
  6. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=indianred]Readers? Choice Original Character Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=cornflowerblue](Start category excerpts)[/color][/b]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Symmetry and Imperfection?[/i] by [color=red]Chaos_Rose[/b][/color]

    The light freighter Maze Dancer was small, and to all scrutiny, too old and worn to be worth stealing. From the small autocafe, Abhaia had been quietly observing the comings and goings of the docking ring denizens, bit so far nobody had approached the ship.

    She stood patiently, drinking a caffaperkie, luxuriating in the feel of a full stomach and warming her hands on the white ceramic mug. Five minutes in a public 'fresher had washed the blood out of her hair and allowed her to change. Her bloody clothing was in the recycling system of the station, along with her long braid of black hair.

    Visits to small second-hand shops and a chandler allowed her to rid herself of a reasonable amount of the stolen funds, but without having too much in the way of conspicuously new or pricey goods. She was now dressed in a loose gray shipsuit, soft black mid-calf boots, a utility belt with a blaster, and a billed cap pulled low. To all appearances, she was simply hire-crew awaiting her boarding call.

    The station's command sounded shift change, and people poured into the corridors. A bulk freighter's tender sounded a boarding klaxon, the officer at the gate hollering, "All hands! All hands! Final call!" as the crew assembled. A launch from a passenger liner disgorged a flutter of colorfully clad tourists into the dull corridor.

    Hefting her duffel, she worked her way into the crowd, then down the passageway to the lock for the Maze Dancer. She was not worried about the security measures here, there were no retinal scanners or DNA matching equipment. Those who were this far out on the Outer Rim valued their anonymity as much as stations like this one valued their clientele. Slipping the memory stick into the slot, she was gratified that neither Karris nor Melenk had thought to program any other password.

    Once in the lock, she closed and dogged it shut, changing the indicator light from the green of a clear lock to the yellow that warned of imminent departure.

    The ship was joined to the station via the lock and the umbilicals that supplied air and water, or pumped out the environmental wastes. A small panel just outside the cofferdam let her check her balance with the station environmental authority and deduct the charges from the landing bond before she disengaged. The entry to the ship was unlocked, and once in the cockpit, Abhaia noticed that instead of being shut down, then engines had been left on standby.

    The navicomp gave her plenty of destinations to consider, from the Soruura system with its hundred moons to the specialized tech worlds of Kamino or Deka. If she wanted to disappear, she could. She had a ship, the basic training to pilot and navigate it, and many reasons to want to lose herself.

    For a moment, she allowed herself to be caught by that image: Starting over. Becoming someone else. Being free.

    ... and leave those women and children to suffer as grandfather's bloodstock.

    She tapped her fingers on the edge of the console, sifting through the bits and pieces of information she had picked up in her time as a fugitive. It was amazing what you could hear while traveling in steerage. Where one might by drugs, or classified weaponry, or who what syndicates were hiring. There was even a recruiting station of sorts on most ships, though of a type that would be frowned on by both Empire and Alliance.

    What she needed was some time; even a Healer had to make time for her own healing. Tears pricked her eyes and blurred the console in front of her.

    I'm not a Healer. Not anymore.

    Suddenly she was shaking, crying so hard that she could scarcely breathe, sickened by everything that she had done since the day she decided to turn and fight instead of running. The images in her mind were so brutally clear that she covered her eyes with her han>
  7. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=plum]Readers? Choice Humour Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=teal](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?The Vader Monologues?[/i] by [color=red]BlindMan[/b][/color]

    ABOVE ENDOR (5):

    (The Imperial shuttle Tydirium, with the Rebel strike team aboard, approaches the Imperial forces near Endor. Vader, on the bridge of the Executor, watches out the viewport.)

    ANAKIN: Man, that shuttle's flying awfully casual.

    VADER: Yes. Almost...suspiciously casual. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was being flown by a Wookiee and carrying a Rebel strike team who're going to try and disable the shield generator so that the Rebel fleet can attack the Death Star.


    A: Shyeah, right. How much spice have *you* been snorting?

    (Vader walks over to where Admiral Piett and a tech officer are talking to the shuttle.)

    VADER: Where is that shuttle going?

    TECH: Shuttle Tydirium, what is your cargo and destination?

    (A voice crackles over the speakers.)

    HAN: Parts and technical crew for the forest moon.

    A: Hey, it's that stormtrooper from the Death Star! The one who reported the reactor leak in the detention area.

    V: I thought they decommissioned that idiot.

    A: Looks like he got promoted, instead.

    V: Typical.


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Piggy and Slim?[/i] by [color=red]BlindMan[/b][/color]

    I suppose I should start off by introducing myself: the name's Porkins. Jek Porkins. My friends call me Piggy--until I hit them in the face, at which point they wise up and call me Jek.

    It's not that I'm sensitive about my weight, mind you, but...Piggy? That's just plain mean. Sure, I'll be the first to admit I have a weight problem; and no, I won't give any weak excuses about being big-boned or having a glandular condition. The truth of the matter is, I just like to eat. A *lot*. Ronto ribs, tauntaun nuggets, dewback steaks, I'll eat it all. Ooh! And those sweet little nerf casseroles they make on Klatooine. Those are *so* good. Smothered in that creamy gravy. Mmmmmm, yeah. Graaaaaaaavy...

    Oh. Sorry. Kind of drifted off there for a minute, didn't I? Anyway, you may recognize my name from that holonet drama about the Rebellion's destruction of the first Death Star at Yavin. I was Red Six. Contrary to what that fictional interpretation portrayed, I *didn't* die in that battle. In fact, I managed to eject before my ship was destroyed. The producers of that film told me that having me die would add to the "dramatic tension" of the sequence; me, I think they just didn't want to pay the fees for having my likeness in the sequels. Rest assured, though, I did survive. I was there at Hoth, I was there at Endor. (Did you really believe Wedge was the only pilot to make it into the core of the second Death Star with Lando? I think not!)

    After Endor was when things started to go downhill for me. See, it was apparently all right for a sizeable guy like me to serve in the Rebellion; but once the New Republic was set up, I found myself out on the street. Apparently I didn't meet the new government's standards for "physically fit pilots". Something about not being able to do a decent pull-up. Or push-up. Or sit-up. (Now that I think about it, I'm not very good at anything ending in "-up"...)

    Anyway, I found myself at a crossroads. What was a guy--who'd spent years on the fringes of the law in the Rebellion, but who now had friends in the new regime--to do? I did the only thing that made any sense--I became a private detective.

    No, seriously. Stop laughing.
    I've got a cramped little office in a cramped, dirty tower here on Coruscant, and just enough cases come my way to keep me from getting evicted. Missing persons, cheating spouses, stolen goods...I handle it all. Mostly small stuff, but occasionally I'll get something big.

    Today was one of those big days. And like all big cases, it started with a dame. Not the flashy, trashy type who usually walked through my door; no, this lady had class. She was past her prime, to be honest, well >
  8. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=navy]Readers? Choice Angst Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=saddlebrown](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?One Day More?[/i] by [color=red]CalaisKenobi[/b][/color]

    He closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief as the sheer presence of the Force overwhelmed him, taking him from the indignity his life had become and cradling him in its loving presence. No more agonizingly-long blistering-hot days on that dust ball of a planet, his many lonely hours spent in total isolation with only the threatening presence of the Tusken Raiders to keep him company. No more gut-wrenching fluctuations of the Living Force as he felt yet another of his former comrades and friends cut down by his apprentice. No more would he be forced to hear about the horrible atrocities that the Empire, under the steel-fisted execution of Sidious and Anakin, had committed.

    He was finally free. The Rebellion had won, Sidious was dead, and Anakin was redeemed. Luke Skywalker had succeeded in correcting all the errors that one young Knight?s arrogance had inflicted on the galaxy.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi had finally found the oblivion he so desperately craved.


    His eyes fluttered open slowly, and he blinked several times in his attempt to focus on the strange new environment. [i]Is this the Force?[/i] he wondered, not truly expecting an answer. He stood in the middle of a lush paradise full of diversity rarely, if ever, seen. Although he could see no signs of animal life, the rich melody of birdsong filling the air and the slight rustling of the underbrush spoke of its presence. A softly scented breeze whispered around his still form, gently playing with the loose spikes of his hair.

    [i]Spikes?[/i] Raising a hand to his head, Obi-Wan was surprised to find his hair cut in the short Padawan style he had not worn since the day his Master died. Tracing the pattern of spikes across to the right side of his head, he was bemused to find the long trailing braid of his much younger years also present. [i]Okay, so if this is the Force, why am I saddled yet again with this horrible hairstyle?[/i] Snorting at the incongruity of his own thoughts, he continued to peruse his appearance. His Jedi tunics were firmly in place, and the lightsaber hilt he had lost that fateful day on Naboo was affixed to his utility belt as if it had never been gone. Even the knee-high boots were the same worn and scuffed leather he remembered so vividly.

    ?Where am I?? he muttered, not realizing that he had spoken aloud until a soft voice answered.

    ?You are exactly where you need to be, young Jedi.?

    Spinning around to face the unexpected presence, Obi-Wan came face to face with a startlingly ethereal figure. Her long silver hair reached well below her waist and her deep indigo eyes spoke of an almost disturbingly powerful wisdom. Her slim and willowy figure was wrapped in a light yellow robe, made of some wispy, yet opaque material.

    ?I don?t understand,? Obi-Wan stated, ?is this the Force?? Wincing at his own bluntness, he was dismayed to find that the imperiousness of his youth had also returned, along with the physical aspects.

    ?In a manner of speaking, yes this is the Force,? the woman answered softly. ?Actually, you could call this more a gift of the Force, than an actual manifestation of it.?

    ?And you are?? he questioned, unwittingly taking a step closer to her, drawn to her like a moth to the flame.

    ?You may call me Natira,? she stated graciously. ?I am here to guide you, and to help you in your decision.?

    ?My decision??

    ?Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are much loved of the Force, and yet your life was painful at the best of times,? Natira sighed. ?You never wavered in your commitment however, and you worked to fulfill the will of the Force until your very last breath, and even beyond that.? Lifting her hand to his face, her silk-soft hand caressed the furrow that had developed between his brows, effectively halting the questions she knew he wished to ask.

    ?Your life served a purpose for th>
  9. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=blue]Readers? Choice Canon Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkgoldenrod](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Rebel Cause?[/i] by [color=red]Cheveyo[/b][/color]

    Leia chased after Han. ?We?re sitting ducks out here.?

    ?Don?t worry, Sweetheart, we won?t be here long.? Han stopped at an access panel in the floor decking and knelt down to lift it open.

    Leia started to ask why they couldn?t make the alterations once they reached the safety of hyperspace, but stopped herself. She knew there would be an ambush waiting for them at the endpoint. And with the brains still transmitting their every move, the transports wouldn?t be able to plot a safe jump. Instead, she asked, ?How long will it take??

    ?Why, are you missing a committee meeting?? He clambered over the edge and draped himself across a tubular conduit to better reach the components he would be adjusting. ?Ah!? he said after a moment?s tinkering. ?I got it. Make yourself useful, Your Worship, and hand me a hydrospanner, will ya??

    Leia was almost overcome by the desire to shove his legs over the conduit, sending him headfirst into the chamber?s grilled floor panels. Instead, she retrieved the requested tool and tossed it with nonchalance into the open access. Metallic clangs echoed up from the cramped access as the tool ricocheted downward. Then it thudded against something very much not metallic?though it was just as dense, she mused. From below came a pained curse, then, ?Hey, watch it up there!?

    Leia allowed herself a small victory and called back, ?Sorry, Captain.?

    The freighter rocked as a laser blast struck its shields. The sudden jarring almost nudged Han off his precarious perch. He grabbed hold of a cable protruding from the equipment in front of him to keep from falling. His stomach could feel the evasive maneuvers Gribb was putting the ship through. ?What?s goin? on up there?? he called.

    ?Looks like our friends are sad to see us go,? Leia said. ?I?m headed forward to check it out.?

    ?Hurry back,? Han called after her. ?I may want another concussion in a minute.?

    Leia reached the entrance to the modified cockpit and peered in. Gribb seemed to have his hands full, between dialing down systems and jerking the maneuvering yoke to and fro. Beyond the pilot?s chair, Leia saw the galaxy?s stars spinning every which way. Green lances of energy streaked past the viewport from behind them. By the number of blasts she saw go by, Leia decided Gribb was doing a good job of avoiding a beating.

    She left him to his task and returned to the gaping access in the deck. ?Gribb?s doing fine. He sends his regards,? she said into the chamber.

    Han sneered as he tightened the clamp around the makeshift bypass. ?Great.? He gave the computer a quick examination, then hefted himself up out of the hole in the deck. ?Alright, Your Highnessness, I?m bored with this party. How about you??

    ?I never liked this music anyway,? the princess retorted as they hurried back up to Gribb.

    Han tapped Gribb on the shoulder and said, ?Out.?

    The smuggler thankfully jumped from the seat and slipped by Han, who quickly replaced him at the controls.

    ?Chewie,? Han called into the newly altered comm system, ?How are we lookin??? He juked the yoke hard to starboard and angled the maneuvering jets, sending the transport into a tight spin. Laser bolts continued to flash by harmlessly.

    Chewbacca barked out his progress report. Han had been the first to chime in, but even as they were speaking, Voresco and another pilot sent word that they had completed their repairs. Only one transport remained.

    ?These guys aren?t even trying,? Han commented as he pulled the ship?s nose up and took off along a new heading. The Imperials were aggressive, but their arcs of trajectory led Han to think they were intentionally missing. They were still herding the convoy. ?Chewie, plot a short hyperspace course and get ready to relay it back to the others.?

    The last of the rebel pilots acknowledged her success wi>
  10. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=lightslategray]Readers? Choice Crossover Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=lightcoral](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpts from [i]?Leaving?[/i] by [color=red]Ariqua_Alyn[/b][/color]

    Strange, isn't it, how the most important of days start out like any other?

    At least, that's the thought that struck Anakin Skywalker as he awoke on his wedding day. He blinked and gazed around the dimly lit room into which he had woken for the past several months. Nothing had moved, nothing had changed. The only difference were the clothes draped over a chair, waiting to be worn.

    Formal Jedi robes and a white silk gown.

    A soft mumble from beside Anakin turned his gaze to his side. He smiled. Cuddled against him, tucked in the crook of his arm was Padmé... The angel who had, by some miracle, wanted to be his wife. And would be, today.


    Their wedding day.

    It was a hard thing to comprehend, so suddenly. Only three days ago was the announcement made, and now... And now they would be married in a few hours.

    It was, in a word, unbelievable.

    As soon as Padmé woke, they gladly got up, bathing and dressing in record time, silly grins of joy plastered on their faces the whole time.

    Once as they reached the holodeck, Anakin and Padmé found their friends readying the last few details of the ceremony. B'Elanna quickly dragged Padmé off to get her into her dress - she had worn other clothes on her way as the dress it was too delicate to be dragged everywhere - and Neelix took Anakin up to the alter to wait.

    As the captain dug through her things for her speech, as Joe - the assigned cameraman - readied the holocam and the still camera, as Tom tried to quiet his infant daughter and as Neelix re-arranged some decoration yet again, Anakin took the time to admire the scenery. It was perfect; Neelix had truly outdone himself.

    It was a fresh, early morning on a grassy plain. Trees were scattered around them, dewdrops hanging from the tips of their branches. The sun was just peaking over the horizon, creating a beautiful purple-blue sky. The grass, too, sparkled with dew and a light mist hung just low enough to give even more of a sparkle to the setting. Suspended randomly in mid air were the only objects that proved it was a holodeck; beautiful spheres of water, floating just above their heads, a bright twinkle in the center of each.

    The alter was a white gazebo, with four pillars supporting the canopy. It was intricately carved, with live vines and roses snaking up all pillars, to drape from the cross-beams of the canopy over the couple. In fact, tiny roses were everywhere, all shining with the light of the sun through the water on their petals. And, Anakin noticed, aside from the shuffles of the guests and the soft whimpers of Miral Paris, there was a beautiful silence that reflected the serenity.

    Leaning against a pillar of the gazebo, Anakin waited nervously for the ceremony to begin. Looking over himself, he was quite pleased that he'd chosen to wear Jedi clothing. It was a reflection of who he still was, and the soft, formal robes were elaborate enough not to look out of place. Then he glanced at his hands. They were shaking.

    Annoyed with himself, he folded his arms. There was no reason to be nervous - this is what they had wanted for years. They were finally going to be married, and yet... it was a big change. Not a bad one, but a big one. And waiting here wasn't helping his frayed nerves.

    Soft, gentle music began to play.

    Finally, it was time.


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Strength and Honor?[/i] by [color=red]Arwyn_Whitesun[/b][/color]

    Maximus slowly drew in a long, deep breath of the cooling evening air. In his years as both a soldier and a general in Rome's legions, he had served in a number of climates in service to the Empire. And, as he had done then, he soon adjusted to the hot, sweltering climate of Morocco, but he always welcomed the cool evenings. It was his favorite time of the day, not only because there was some rel>
  11. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=rosybrown]Readers? Choice Poem:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=midnightblue](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Can?t Stop Loving you?[/i] by [color=red]AERYN_SUN[/b][/color]

    I look at you,
    enchanted by your beauty
    but you look away

    I wish I could stop thinking
    about you, wanting you --
    but you all can think of is him

    I've lost you to him;
    I know I have,
    lost you even before I knew,
    or even realized
    these feelings inside me

    It was too late,
    when you came to me
    and told me of your fears,
    your fears of him.

    I held you as you cried,
    wishing I could hold you forever;
    then you looked at me,
    as if sensing my thoughts
    you kissed me with your sweet lips

    I?ve dreamt of this night,
    holding you close to me
    as you slept ever so peacefully
    I smiled, kissed your forehead,
    staring at your angelic face

    You were scared, trembling;
    if he ever found out the love
    that was meant for him,
    suddenly became mine?.

    My love had the power
    To destroy you,
    Destroy us

    He's gone now
    and there's nothing more
    I can do to soothe
    your damaged heart

    Now, when you look at me
    all I can do is look away;
    ?fore I blame myself
    for the pain I?ve caused you,
    a pain I wish I could kiss away


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Lady, I?m a Jedi?[/i] by [color=red]Amidala_Skywalker[/b][/color]

    Lady, I?m a Jedi,
    Mind tricks and death sticks,
    Floating speeders and levitating balls,
    Women of mystery,
    Men of triumph.

    Lady, I?m a Jedi,
    Talented to the last,
    Bold, brave, and brash,
    Braids and Gundarks,
    I?ve seen ?em all.

    Lady, I?m a Jedi,
    Don?t quote the code,
    Doesn?t matter if it doesn?t bode,
    ?Cause I?m changing my lifestyle,
    And handing in my lightsaber.

    Dear Force,
    Lady, I?m a Jedi,
    Soon a Sith,
    Blue to red,
    And eminent death.

    Lady, I?m a Jedi,
    Don?t quote me the odds,
    You won?t get anywhere fast,
    ?Cause I?ve never been beaten,
    And I?ll still remain,
    Time and time again.


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?One Jedi?[/i] by [color=red]CYNICAL21[/b][/color]

    Amid the mundane, the prosaic, the dust-to-dust small souls,
    In the cacophony of voices lifted, screeching, blended, incomprehensible,
    There grows a stillness-perfect, timeless, bell-pure.
    When all is fragments of existence, and splinters of reality,
    Raucous in repulse of all things related,
    One simple completion rising among the shards
    Steals the breath and clouds the mind.
    Sweet, pure, a melody of unsurpassed eloquence
    Penetrates the solitary soul as shafts of sun
    Pierce the dawn-pulsed shroud of night.
    One - in and of himself - one.
    Independent of the scattering of discarded visions,
    Whole, unflinching, focused, fearless, flawless, found
    Not wanting - entire, a finished work.
    In the realm of shattered being and frantic particles,
    The man who is, is a titan among mites,
    A colossus striding through swarms of gnats.
    Here is no ephemeral, celestial music of the spheres;
    Here are trumpets exulting in sheer volume;
    Here is percussion, discounting minor counter rhythms.
    Here such poignant beauty, unexpected,
    Impossible to foresee,
    Storms the senses, and quickens the spirit
    To unprecedented, painful awareness;
    Perfection too painful to behold
    Without risk of being impaled by perception,
    And the certainty, slow to rise,
    That glimpses of the flicker of primal starburst
    Carry a cost too dear to be borne by poor mortals.
    He is philosopher and peacemaker and poet;
    Will o' the wisp, wanderer, and warrior;
    He is music and drama and sweet, slow passion - it's what he does;
    And what he is.
    Wherever he walks or speaks or pauses
    He collects eyes and hearts and spirits;
    And he proceeds, unaware of the detritus that trails him.
    The nimbus of luminescence is always with him,
    Though not always visible to eyes dimmed
    By a death of slow dissolving and the finite march of days;
    And never visible to him.
    He doesn't know, you see;
    He doesn?t stand outside himse>
  12. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=chocolate]Readers? Choice Song-Fic:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkolivegreen](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?I Would Have Loved You Anyway?[/i] by [color=red]AngelQueen[/b][/color]

    [i]It's bittersweet to look back now
    The memories have withered over time
    Just to hold you close to me
    For a moment in time

    -Herself walking into a small shop behind Master Jinn, looking around curiously. A little boy runs in and settles himself onto the counter.

    "Are you an angel?"-

    -The little boy, smiling shyly at her, his newly created Padawan braid swaying in the wind. Herself, so much younger and optimistic, grinning happily back at him-

    -The little boy had grown up. Rabé and Eirtaé had been right. The adorable little boy they'd known had grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous-

    -"When I'm around you, my mind is no longer my own."-

    -His blue eyes, usually filled with laughter and lightheartedness, now filled with a consuming, soulful pain. Herself, wrapping her arms around him as he leaned against her and cried-

    -"I truly, deeply love you."-

    -Anakin smiling happily down at her, touching his forehead to her own. His lips nipping gently at hers-

    -Herself, filled with alarm as Obi-Wan staggered into her villa. He was covered in burns and cuts. Yet, he paid them no mind as he wordlessly held out a familiar lightsaber to her-

    -Herself again, burying her face in Anakin's pillow to muffle the screams-

    -They weren't his eyes anymore. Once so filled with love, now filled with anger, desperation, and hate. And yet, he was begging as well. Begging her not to leave him alone-

    I would have loved you anyway
    I'd do it all the same
    Not a second I would change
    Not a touch that I would trade
    Had I known my heart would break
    I would have loved you anyway[/i]

    "One more push, Padmé! One more push and the first one will be out!"


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Death of a Jedi Master?[/i] by [color=red]astroanna[/b][/color]

    [i]Run away with my heart

    Run away with my hope

    Run away with my love[/i]

    Once again you amaze me, my Padawan, you?ve done what no one has done in a thousand years, what I could not do. You?ve defeated the foul creature, but more importantly, you?ve defeated the evil within yourself, as I always knew you would. As you extinguish your saber and fall upon your knees at my side, I can still feel that extraordinary light that is your spirit, my Obi-Wan, and I know what I must do. I must burden you one last time, my beloved Padawan, I must charge you with one last mission, though it breaks my heart further to have to do it. I want to tell you, my Obi-Wan, I want to tell you how much you've meant to me these past years, how sorry I am for every hurt I've ever caused you, every wound that you've suffered gladly at my side. I want to say it all, but I have not the strength nor the life left in me to do so. Instead, I must leave my life's work in your hands, because I know that you have it within you to complete it. As I struggle for the breath with which to speak, my eyes flutter open and I know that you won't want to accept what is right in front of you.

    "It's-It's too late", I gasp, wanting you to understand, so that you may better listen to what I am about to tell you.

    "No!", comes the desperate reply, and I can see in your eyes how your heart is breaking. Oh, and how mine is, too, my Padawan, for I will never get the chance to tell you all the things you were supposed to hear when you became a knight and I was to stand, so proud, with you kneeling in front of me as I severed your Padawan's braid. You'll never know, because I must, as I've always done, do my duty, even with my dying breath. All my life I've devoted myself to the Jedi Order, to doing my duty in it's service, and now, as I lay here, about to do it again, I find myself, for the first time in my long life, brimming over with regret at having to do just that. For I must do my duty, but to do it, I have to watch as your heart br>
  13. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=maroon]Readers? Choice ?Jedi Apprentice? Period In-Progress Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=mediumpurple](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Forsaken and Begotten?[/i] by [color=red]Arldetta[/b][/color]

    His arms pulled the youth tighter to him, as Qui-Gon walked toward the sleepcouch. His thoughts still reeling from the battle he had forcefully ended. And he hated himself for it. When he first realized who their captive and daring pilot rescuer was, he had been both elated and dismayed. And those compelling eyes only added to the confusion of his emotions. <And what are you going to do now?> He asked himself.

    Carefully, he placed the corsair on the mattress but could not bring himself to release his hold from the young man. Instead he wanted to grip tighter so as not to loose him again; so as not to let go of the fantastic waking dream he found him self in. How he wished everything could have gone differently, and not turned into the nightmare it had so quickly become. <He will not be pleased,> his conscience remarked.

    His internal debate began. <He never was to begin with,> answering himself wryly. His hand strayed closer to the taut features of the boy, and he marveled to realize that his hand was trembling lightly.

    Noticing the shivering hand as well, his conscience asked, <How is it that one boy can effect you more than the thousand wars you have seen?>

    Sighing, he lightly brushed the soft ginger bangs from the young face and sat on the edge to watch him sleep. <He is special.>

    Passively, his conscience queried further, <If he?s so special, why did you let him go all those years ago?>

    <Because, I was blind. I already realized that.> He reminded his inner voice. <There was nothing I could do when we were told he had been killed.>

    <And you are so certain of that?> A hint of speculation in its tone.

    Tearing his gaze away, Qui-Gon finally stood. Clenching his eyes closed from the rebuke, he stopped two steps away from the couch. <What could I have done? Gone to search in vain? The Council would never have allowed that.>

    Slowly, he turned back to the sleeping rogue, watching the slight rise and fall of Obi-Wan?s chest. Again the voice remained calm yet condoning at the same time, inciting him further. <Yet in your heart, did you not question their judgement when they could provide no trace of him?>

    <Of course, I did.> He crossed his arms in front of his chest and fell into the defensive posture he used so often in his negotiations. <But what good could I have done? The investigating authorities claimed that the Pirates took no prisoners.>

    The diplomatic voice claimed plainly, <They took at least one.>

    The casually spoken fact infuriated him even more than he anticipated. Breathing deeply, he mimicked Obi-Wan?s rhythmic breathes to calm his fraying nerves. After a moment he thought but could not finish, <If I had only known. . . . >

    <What would you have done?> He asked himself incredulously.

    Taking a step closer to the sleeping form again. <Searched for him, obviously.>

    <You speak with the knowledge of hindsight, but would you have, truthfully?> Qui-Gon moved to sit at the edge of the bed again. He soon realized that the innocent face of youth no longed resided in Obi-Wan?s features. A whisper even more insidious than his conscience admonished, <You did that to him.> Closing his eyes again, he fought desperately to deny the accusation.

    Taking a deep breath he tried to release his anxiety to the Force. He soon found the effort pointless. At last, he answered the question posed. <I can only hope that I would have.>

    Qui-Gon could have sworn he heard the incessant voice chuckle. <Hope is not a bad motivation, only when it is misguided.> Understanding that further explanation was necessary, his conscience continued. <If you were so blind as not to trust the Force?s prompting, you would have accepted the Padawan at once. And now you assume that you would have rushed out to save the wayward initiate had y>
  14. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=indigo]Readers? Choice Prequel Trilogy In-Progress Story:[/u][/b][/color]

    [b][color=cadetblue](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Stars in the Darkness?[/i] by [color=red]Arwyn_Whitesun[/b][/color]

    [i]HoloNet News: The Information Source for the Galactic Republic - Afternoon Edition Broadcast Feed

    VIRGILLIAN NODE ?[/i] Although reports are scattered due to a communications blackout, civil war has broken out in the Virgillian system between the Virgillian Free Alignment and the Aristocracy. As this is a developing story, updates will be broadcast as they are received.

    [i]KANA CITY, KANA[/i] - Noted author Marc Ti died peacefully in his sleep in his mountain estate on Kana at the age of 141. He was famous for his book, _Handbook to a Successful Marriage_, which has sold over 1 trillion copies galaxy-wide and been translated into 5,000 languages and sub-languages since it was published a hundred years ago. Admired for his ability to address all types of marriages involving all kinds of species Ti, though never married himself, decided to write the handbook after observing the failure of the marriages of many of his friends.

    [i]CLOUD CITY, BESPIN[/i] - An explosion in a Tibanna gas mine killed two workers and injured dozens of others. Authorities were quick to assure the populace this was not the work of terrorists. For the past several weeks, a group known as the People's United Front has demanded that the managers of Cloud City provide adequate medical protection for its workers. Citing the rising cost of such protection, the managers refused. Jeree Ya-Teel, leader of PUF, blamed the explosion on cutbacks in the Republic's Health and Safety Inspection Department. "They're supposed to keep an eye on things. We used to have two inspectors come out every three months. Now, it's one every six months. Keep this up and, trust me, more people are going to die."

    [i]RAXUS PRIME[/i] - Count Dooku of Serenno, formerly a member of the Jedi Order, in a speech broadcasted on a pirated channel of the HoloNet, blasted both the Republic and the Jedi Order, accusing them of being hopelessly corrupt and out of touch with the people they're supposed to protect. Calling upon all who still believed in justice and freedom to rally around his cause, Dooku promised he would not rest until a new day dawned in the galaxy, where all beings, no matter their species, gender or non-gender, religious affiliation or socio-economic status, reaped the full benefits of citizenship.



    Greetings, gentle beings. I'm Zenna Efeyni. We're bringing you a special edition of [i]Sightings by Twang[/i] to make two announcements. First, Dyslogia Twang is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the HolotNet News. He will be returning to his homeworld of Gira and has no plans in the immediate future to return to broadcasting. Second, before he left Coruscant, Twang recorded the following message:


    I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Senator Onara Lenor and Master Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi for statements I made regarding them. I also offer my apology to the Galactic Senate and the Jedi Order, and I hereby retract any statements made involving all concerned. My statements were not based on fact, but on conjecture and speculation, and any harm or injury I might have caused Senator Lenor, Master Kenobi or anyone associated with them, I now offer my apology.


    Thank you, Twang. Let's all wish him much happiness in his new life and our hopes he'll be returning soon. An announcement will be made shortly as to what will replace [i]Sightings by Twang.[/i] Ta ta and much happiness!

    [i]Broadcast Feed Terminated[/i]


    Obi-Wan walked slowly alongside Yoda who was seated in a floating chair. This allowed the older Jedi Master to converse with the younger one at>
  15. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=orangered]Readers? Choice Inter-Trilogies In-Progress Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=sienna](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow?[/i] by [color=red]CYNICAL21[/b][/color]

    Yesterday, I was Obi-WAn Kenobi, Jedi knight. Today, I am Ben Kenobi, hermit and wanderer of these desolate wastes. And a life spent in the pursuit of culture and philosophical understanding will have little meaning here. It almost makes me smile to recall that I was the music lover, the art lover - the padawan that many called the Poet. None of that will have meaning here. Only the grim realities of survival will have meaning here.

    On far away Alderaan, Bail will raise Leia as his own, and she will lack for nothing materially. But more importantly, he will provide for her the moral guidance she will need when she grows to maturity. The Force spoke to me, with amazing clarity, and directed me to advise the Organas in how to educate her to prepare for her extraordinary future. I have no doubt that they will fulfill their commitments.

    At the same time, I am certain that the Lars will provide excellent care for Luke - a true family life. His needs will differ from those of his sister - but they will be provided, although Owen will certainly resist any attempt by me to interfere in the boy's life. Much as I might disagree with him, I know he will provide stability and family values for the child. It seems somehow strange for me to care about that, as it is something of which I have no memories. There must, I assume, have been a family for me - somewhere, at sometime - but I have no memory of ever even asking about them. The Jedi were my family.

    My family - is dead now. All of them.

    Qui-Gon went first, of course - without even a decent good-bye. Without ever telling me if I had succeeded in becoming what he wished me to be. I have finally, after many long years, made my peace with that; accepting that I would never know the answer to that question was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

    I have tried to convince myself that he was pleased with me - that he would have been proud - but it has grown more difficult in recent years.

    For I have come finally to understand that the Force - to my great surprise - has a wicked sense of humor.

    Every step I took, every decision I made, I believed I was being guided by the Force - but it is all too obvious now that I was wrong - for this, surely, can NOT be the Will of the Force.

    Light is gone. Justice is dead. Peace exists now only in the grave.

    And Anakin - my Anakin, my padawan - placed in my hands by my Master, entrusted to me by Qui-Gon Jinn and by the Jedi Council - my Anakin has been transformed into the henchman of ultimate evil.

    I believed - because I chose to - that he still existed; that he could not have vanished completely; that something of the child he had been MUST have survived.

    That was before I watched him destroy the Jedi Temple and slaughter the innocents who, at the end, begged only for mercy. Not to be spared - no. None of them begged for that - not even the smallest of them. They begged only to be allowed to die with dignity - as Jedi.

    And he laughed as he consigned them to the flames - and listened to them scream in agony, while he held me in a Force chamber and gloated in my helplessness.

    If not for Yoda, I would have followed them into the furnace. If not for Yoda.

    I did not thank him for my survival.

    I have no idea how long the little green troll held me in the twilight purgatory that he created for me; I know only that, if he had not wrapped me in that protective shielding, if he had simply released me and tossed me into the maelstrom that was raging through the Force, I would not be here today. I would be dead - and forbidden to ever touch the Force again.

    But so would my apprentice - for I was consumed with the Darkness. It descended on me in my captivity - and I became that which I despised most; I became what Palpatine made of >
  16. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=darkcyan]Readers? Choice Original Trilogy In-Progress Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkslateblue](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Strange Feelings?[/i] by [color=red]Angel_Skywalker[/b][/color]

    [color=darkslateblue]Sort summary: Leia was captured and tortured by some pirates. Both, Vader and Luke felt her pain through the force and tried to save her (Vader thought it was Luke who need his help) Well, Vader got her first. But he was confused about his feelings towards her.
    His first talk to her was the post before. It didn´t go quiet well.
    His inner conflict is shown through his inner voice *...*[/color]


    "Luke, please wait and listen to me. Your plan is not only crazy,
    it?s suicide!"

    Lando shouted at Luke, who was taking the things he would need.
    Without slowing, the young one answered:

    "It might be dangerous, but I won?t give up Leia. Like it or not, I am going. You don?t have to come with me. It?s your choice."

    Then he left his quarters and went to the hangar. Luke wasn?t as sure as he had shown to his friend. He knew that Lando was right, without any question. This plan was more than risky and he had to be crazy to do something like this. But how could he not? Vader was his father, he felt responsible for everything this monster did.

    "I wish Leia was here. She would know what to do." Luke thought,
    biting his lips. "I?ll find her. Be strong, I?m coming!" he started to run, until he reached the hangar, where Chewie and the droids were waiting.

    Lando sighed. Why was this boy so stubborn? He wouldn?t be a help to Leia if he was dead.
    But remembering this woman, he was sure of one thing: She would do the same thing. Lando shook his head. Was he the only one here who enjoyed being alive? "I?m sure I?ll regret this", he whispered, before running after


    Luke looked at his friends. I?m leaving shortly to rescue Leia from the Darth Vader. There for I have to fly to his base, which is very dangerous. Nobody of you has to join me. It?s more than possible, that I won?t survive..."

    "Grrroaaaaroroar!" Chewie crossed his arms demonstratively.

    C3PO (explained): Master Chewbacca will be honored to fight with you.
    Oh, oh! This whole thing sounds very dangerous and unfriendly.

    Luke (in a soft voice): It is. And you two can stay here. There is no

    C3PO: Thank you, Master Luke...

    R2D2: Beeep! Beeeeeeeeep! Beep beep beeep!

    C3PO: R2, you rusty tin! You?ve heard what master Luke said. Don?t be

    R2D2: Beeeeeeeeep!

    C3PO: I don?t think that this is a good idea.

    R2D2: Beep! Beep!

    C3PO (unhappily): Okay, okay. But don´t complain later. Master Luke,
    we´ll join you, too!

    "You can count on me as well!"

    Everybody turned to see Lando coming. Luke lifted an eyebrow.

    Luke (surprised): What are you doing here?

    Lando (with a smile): Well, if I can?t stop you, I have to make
    sure that you?ll come back in one piece.

    Luke: Thanks. I?m glad you?re coming with us.

    Lando: Well, and then let?s start, before I come to my mind.

    So the group boarded the Falcon and after some minutes the ship took

    "I hope I didn?t make a terrible mistake", Luke thought when they
    jumped into hyperspace.


    Vader was sitting in a dark room, feeling miserable. Every time he tried to meditate, he failed. For the first time as Darth Vader, he didn?t know what to do. Only 150 meters away was his daughter, his own flesh and blood, hating him. Two hours had passed since the disastrous talk. Perhaps she was in a
    better mood now and should try it again.

    [i]*Don´t be childish, Dark Lord. You know why she hates you.*[/i]

    "She doesn?t know the truth, yet. I will offer her more power than she can think of.

    [i]*Great idea. Do I have to remind about the last time, you used this? Luke was very enthusiastic, wasn?t he?*[/i]

    Vader sighed. This was going to be hard. How could he turn the girl
    without hurt>
  17. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=mediumvioletred]Readers? Choice Post-ROTJ In-Progress Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=steelblue](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Snow Job?[/i] by [color=red]Alion_Sangre[/b][/color]

    As surreptitiously as I could, I hit the button, hoping the Sith-wannabe in front of us was sadistic enough to take his sweet time. He stood back, five meters away from us, and spoke in a tone that seemed to come from a grave.

    ?You will release the Imperial to me, or I will kill you both.?

    [i]Damn, he?s not exactly verbose[/i] I thought to myself as I tried to force my brain and vocal cords to produce a coherent statement. I was trying to think of something sufficiently defiant when a red light lit up on the wristcomm. [i]Jamming![/i] So much for an easy escape. The hit team across the street must have activated a powerful comm-jamming unit, similar to those frequently employed by Imperial Intel teams. My laser backup would still work, but that would be way too obvious. My head would be permanently separated from my shoulders before I could signal the freighter.

    My options were looking bad and worse.

    Chelle had leaned herself against the edge, her empty weapon pointed at the sky. ?We don?t have much of a choice, do we?? My immediate reaction was contempt ? in Intel, you never surrendered, never gave in. Better to go down gun in hand than let them torture you as they wish. Her capitulation was just another sign that she was too weak for this work, too weak for me to even have considered her as a friend.

    Then I mentally kicked myself in the ass. Who was I kidding? The guy was going to get Jurstins anyway; what did it matter if we gave up like cowards or bravely sat there while those fiery blades sliced and diced us? At best, we might be able to save our skins and possibly be able to snatch the Imperial back at a more opportune time. At worst ? hell, you can only die once.

    I was just about to reply when the stairwell door banged open to admit a black-clad man toting what looked like a Stormtrooper One carbine ? my guess was he was with the folks across the street, and probably working with our Dark Jedi. [i]Funny, the file said Sangre usually works alone.[/i] Then again, the files didn?t know a lot about Sangre. For that matter, I wasn?t even sure if it was Sangre, although the list of other possible suspects was pretty damned short ? supposedly, he was the only bounty hunter on the planet. How did I know that? [i]Intelligence analysis ? ?We bet YOUR life on it.?[/i]

    However, my initial assumption was proven wrong as the man proceeded to raise the weapon to his shoulder and unleash a flurry of precisely aimed blaster bolts on both us and the Dark Jedi. Evidently, he and his buddies wanted us all dead, rather than our captor, who seemingly wanted Jurstins alive. Also, he evidently knew exactly how to use that weapon, making him a pro.

    Apparently, he was also stupid enough to think he could take a guy holding a doublebladed lightsaber, as the Dark Jedi turned and showed the same parrying skills he had with us, covering his captives and himself with his blades. Shots splashed all over the place, some bouncing back at the gunman but being deflected by a personal shield. Seeing that his opponent wasn't going to be taken down with his own fire, the Dark Jedi advanced towards him, saber dancing around him like a man ablaze. [i]Don?t just stand there, run![/i] my brain screamed as the duel raged. Of course, the only sane escape routes were blocked, leaving one alternative. Dropping the rail detonator and grabbing Chelle with my free hand, I levered us all over the edge and dragged them into thin air with me, remembering very clearly that this was a five-story building and that there was a sniper just waiting for a crack at us . . . not to mention that we had the usually implacable equations of gravity and fragile human physiology working against our favor.


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Last Chance: Myn and Lara?[/i] by [color=red]_Derisa_Ollamhin_[/b][/color]
  18. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=darkgreen]Readers? Choice NJO In-Progress Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkmagenta](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Evasion?[/i] by [color=red]InyriForge[/b][/color]

    This scene occured immediately following a food fight between Rogue Squadron and Wraith Squadron, which concluded with Inyri Forge missing Wes Janson and accidently nailing Wedge Antilles in the face with a blueberry pie.

    ?Sit.? Wedge pointed at two chairs in his office as he wiped his face with a towel. He watched as the two pilots obliged, and continued his angry rant. ?What is with you two??

    Inyri crossed her arms and refused to look at Wes, who was seated in a similar position, a scowl written across his face.

    Wedge pretended not to notice their childish behavior and went on as if they were acting like they were over the age of three. ?First, you two have this little squadron war between the Rogues and the Wraiths.?

    ?They started it!? Wes and Inyri exclaimed at the same time, pointing at each other. Both got looks of outrage on their faces. ?We did not! You did!?

    Wedge raised his eyebrows at the unison exclamation. Pretending not to notice that as well, he spoke as if never interrupted. ?And now, I catch you disrupting the entire mess hall with a food fight. A food fight! How old are you two??

    ?He dumped my pasta on my head!? Inyri pointed to the red streaks running across her cheeks and through her brown hair.

    ?Well you threw a roll at me first!? Wes exclaimed. ?Hard, too, might I add.? He grinned, touching his nose gingerly. ?Maybe we should just send Forge here to fight the Vong with that arm of hers.?

    ?You aren?t funny, Wes,? Inyri growled.

    ?Both of you, stop it!? Wedge intervened. ?Janson, you?re Wraith Leader, and Forge, you?re Rogue XO. You?re in leadership positions and this grade school behavior has to end! Do you understand??

    Both mumbled something that sounded like a ?yes.?

    ?Good, go get cleaned up.? Wedge went back to removing filling from his hair with the towel, letting them know they?d been dismissed.

    ?Great going, Janson.? Inyri muttered on her way to the door.

    ?It?s not my fault if you don?t have a sense of humor, Forge,? The other pilot replied.

    Inyri?s face clouded over with anger. She opened her mouth, ready to let a string of curses fly. ?You?re such a??

    ?Will you two stop flirting with each other? It?s hazardous to my health,? Wedge looked over at them.

    ?We are not flirting!? Both exclaimed in unison as they left his office.

    This excerpt begins after Jaina Solo has concluded lightsaber practice with Kyp Durron. Kyp has persuaded Jagged Fel to come observe, and now has left the two alone in an attempt to get them together. The first speaker is Jaina.

    ?So I?m keeping my left side open??

    A smile tugged at Jag?s mouth. ?Yeah. You move to block your opponent,? he took a step towards her.

    Jaina just stood there, observing him quietly.

    Jag stopped, then walked around behind her. He took her right hand in his and extended her arm. ?So, you?re blocking, but when you move forward, you can?t defend yourself here.? Jag gestured at her left side, his hand brushing along her other arm. ?See??

    Jaina felt electricity shoot through her body at his touch. ?Yes.? She looked over at Jag. They were standing close enough that she could feel his breath on her cheek.

    Jag took her left arm and pulled her body back towards him. ?Here, you?re in line with your attack vector. When someone comes at you, you have your arm, and in your case, your weapon, between them and you.? Jag pulled her right arm back and spun her once. ?And now you?re set up for your next offensive.?

    Jaina tried to concentrate on what he was saying, but her attention was focused more on how Jag was holding her. ?Can we go through it again??

    ?Sure.? Jag extended their right arms again, then pulled her back so her body and her arm formed a straight line. H>
  19. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=dodgerblue]Readers? Choice ?Ancient History/Far Future? Period In-Progress Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkred](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?The Daughter of the Winds?[/i] by [color=red]Chaos_Rose[/b][/color]

    Old age gave one nothing if not perspective and patience. Thia Gann'er hur Elonia had leaned this at the knee of her own greatmother and had it branded into her soul during her years as Captain of Thia's Outrider. As all Daughters of the Winds knew there were times to act and times to wait, but with the very heart of the Oathkin torn and bleeding she could wait no more.

    Turning her Outrider over to her First Daughter, Jelana, Thia ordered all the ships of sept hur Elonia into the unknown space far beyond the grasp of the Republic. Merisama Lisim'er, Wind Walker to sept hur Patrize offered her the use of her own corvette, the Freedom Song.

    The sun was just rising, the winds cold and stiff as the two old women walked across the Landing, their bright garb bound with white mourner's bands. From time to time, they stopped, Merisama leaning heavily on her walking stick ? at nearly a century-and-ten she was starting to feel her years. Thia was only seventy-five, her red hair thickly shot with silver ? yet the events of the past month made her feel older than the rock they stood on.

    They came to a small ship parked among the Outriders, Striders, and landing flitters from the Far Rangers. The surface resembled mother-of pearl and the lines ? as for all Oathkin vessels ? made it look as if the ship had been grown rather than built. The Wind Walker pricked her finger, shed a drop of blood onto a small glass 'eye,' and an entry ramp extruded from the ship.

    The woman then took Thia's hand, and with a quick jab to her index finger, brought a ruby drop to the tip. As the scanner cycled clean, she pressed a series of small buttons, then smeared the blood onto the device.

    "She is yours, Thia." Merisama kissed her on both cheeks, her tears flowing as freely as the gray hair she had unbraided in grief. "The Convocation of Clan Mothers has been ordered, Jini and Lurann are dead. I am named to replace Jini. I will see to it that Jelana sits in Lurann's place."

    "If I do not return in a year, Merisama, light the Heartfire for me. Sing me to rest in the arms of our Mothers and never, ever suffer another Jedi to shadow the steel of our decks."

    Merisama bowed deeply, "By my heart's blood, sister, shall it be so."

    Bowing her head in gratitude and mourning, Thia walked up the ramp and into the corvette.

    The Meeting Moon fell away behind her and she stifled the urge to keen Heartsong to those she was leaving behind. Nearly every ship of the Oathed was represented. Some were still in transit, too fearful to take chances in Republic space after what had befallen their sisters.

    Avoid all Republic ships, and shun the Jedi. Guard you well the babes. The child-stealers take none over the age of four.

    Such a bitter message to send. Even more bitter to have your aid and trust repaid with dead kin and stolen children.

    The Jedi were worse than pirates, even worse than slavers ? at least those did not cloak their true nature in good words and lofty motives. Before departing Thia had laid a blood charge before the Sept Mothers and it had been unanimously accepted. Though the Great Charter mandated aid to all that asked, for the first time in the long history of the Daughters of the Winds, the Kin of the Oath, all aid would be denied to the Jedi until the Winds ceased.

    "May they blow until the stars go dark." Thia winced at the fury in her voice. Such was not the Way. The Kin fought where they could fight, ran when they could not, and let the Winds take them where they would. The Way had been so for thousands of years before the Republic, and the Way would yet be when the Jedi were dust and faded memories.

    The Daughters remembered their history in story, song and writ. The Meeting Moon was the repository of the Logs and Concordance ? >
  20. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=orchid]Readers? Choice Before the Saga Completed Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkblue](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?Symmetry and Imperfection?[/i] by [color=red]Chaos_Rose[/b][/color]

    "Back off, Sith." Part of Naum protested that this was not the way of the Jedi even as he snarled at Vader.

    Something that might have been a laugh issued from behind the black mask. "What do you hope to save, Jedi? Her or yourself?"

    "To save even one from you?"

    "Even one who is already willingly apprenticed? Abhaia is Sith, I am her Master. If she was awake she would not deny this, but as we stand here the odds lengthen that she will never wake." Vader's tone was as matter-of-fact as if he told Naum that water was wet.

    "Abi is a Healer, she?"

    "Can heal her injuries only if she retains a degree of consciousness. That dart held a drug of some sort ? feel for yourself, Jedi, she is not tranquilized but anaesthetized."

    Naum stretched out in the Force, calling to Abi, but found only a strange echoing emptiness. The feel of Abi was there, but there was no actual presence. The multiple injuries felt like cracks in her presence, and he could feel them draining her lifeforce away.

    Drawing back, he shook his head. "You cloud my mind somehow, Sith. Deceiving, misleading?"

    "The only deceit you perceive is the one you cling to and the clouds in your judgement of your own devising," Vader snapped. "Look deeper, Jedi. You can see that I have no need to prevaricate when you and your kind delude yourself so ably."

    Naum deactivated his saber, flinching inwardly as his fallen brother's barbed words struck spots left tender by his last exchange with the Council.

    "We all have our delusions, Vader. I prefer mine to yours." Naum wished he sounded more certain.

    "She dies, Jedi. Leave her with me and she will live." Vader drew his saber but did not ignite it. "Just in case your tender morality withers at the thought of leaving your 'one life', I can give you hundreds to assuage the pangs of conscience."

    "Hundreds of lives? What are you going to do? Take a day off?"

    "What I do brings order, while the Jedi hid in their temple like a kupi in its shell and let the Trade Federation and Separatist sympathizers run the Republic to ruin." Vader's anger was palpable. Many of those responsible for multiple atrocities had never been brought to justice. "The rebels are a new name on old treason, Jedi, and you and yours embrace those who spilled our blood at whim."

    Naum's jaw tightened, but he stood quiet. There was nothing that he could say to the contrary, watching the former Separatists and their allies held up as victims of Imperial brutality made him nauseous.

    Vader pulled a memory stick out from a pouch on his belt and held it up. "Has she told you much about where she's from?"

    "Not much. I know only the barest of circumstances." And what he knew was horrible. The scene that he had watched play out in Jilla's would haunt him until the end of his days.

    "Hundreds of lives, Jedi. Women and children, imprisoned on a world in the Illoni Cluster. You could get them out." Vader balanced the stick on the tip of his finger. "Leave Abhaia with me, and these lives are yours."

    Abi stirred, moaning, and Naum stepped forward only to find himself at the point of Vader's blade.

    "Or perhaps you think to obey your original orders and neutralize her? So like the Council to dress murder and assassination in such palatable terms, and so like the Jedi to point to the blood on my hands while ignoring the slaughterhouse stench of their own judgments."

    "I wouldn't? those orders are not the orders that I follow anymore." The words hurt, but as he said them, Naum felt himself severed from bonds that had begun to strangle him. The Force was never a nursemaid, but Naum had been raised by those who knew love, compassion and mercy. What if Master Jinn had never found him as an infant, or had found and passed him by as irrelevant?

    What if he passed the>
  21. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=royalblue]Readers? Choice During the Saga Completed Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [u][i][color=royalblue]Prequel Trilogy:[/u][/i][/color]

    [b][color=palevioletred](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?At the Homestead?[/i] by [color=red]ami-padme[/b][/color]

    It was then that Beru picked up a sound, something other than the wind and the sand and the vaporators. She looked out past the house, to the point on the horizon where she had been staring most of the day.

    Joy leapt up in her heart as she ran toward it ? the sound of an engine, of their speeder. They had turned off the perimeter screen remotely?she could just make them out now. They were back!

    The vaporators were completely forgotten. Her shawl finally fell off her shoulders and she left it in the sand. She saw Owen driving, with Cliegg sitting in the back.

    Beru ran for several seconds more, waving wildly at Owen, before she realized that she couldn't see anyone else in the speeder.

    Where was Shmi?

    Coldness spiked through her, and it had nothing to do with the chilly temperatures or the wind. Owen had spotted her, and changed course and slowed down to meet her. She could now see his panicked, ashen face. There was blood on his clothes, and his arm was injured. She thought Cliegg might be unconscious, lying there in the back seat.

    "Owen!" she cried, running along the side of the speeder before it had come to a stop. "What's happened? What ?"

    "Jump in!" he yelled. "I've got to get him back to the house, now!"

    Beru did as he said, almost without thinking. She grabbed the speeder and pulled herself in, and Owen gunned it the rest of the way back to the main house.

    "Owen, I ?"

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Cliegg, and the rest of the sentence died on her lips.

    His leg was gone.

    He was lying across the back seat unconscious, as she had noticed before. But now she could see that his left leg was missing, cut off somewhere on his thigh. There seemed to be blood all over the seat and the floor?his leg had been tied up with clothing of some kind, but it was doing a poor job of stopping the flow from his open wound.

    Owen was talking to her, but she couldn't turn the words into anything that made sense. She felt dizzy.

    The speeder lurched to a stop, and Owen suddenly grabbed her arm, turning her away from his father, and forcing her to look at him instead.

    "Beru, I need your help!"

    She nodded. He let go and jumped out of the speeder. He reached back in to pull his father out, and began carrying him inside. He called back over his shoulder, "I didn't have anything with me to stop the bleeding, otherwise I would have taken him all the way into town. We need to get a tourniquet on him, and go. We have to find a surgeon!"

    Beru pushed herself through the house, following Owen as they went into Cliegg and Shmi's room. Owen lowered his father onto the bed. She was already digging through their medical supplies, trying to find something that would work.

    "What do we do?" Owen was asking frantically. "I don't think I can treat something like this?he can't keep bleeding this way. He'll never make it to Mos Eisley."

    "We shouldn't [i]go[/i] into town, Owen." Beru dropped a roll of cloth and a set of binders next to Cliegg on the bed. "Yatta is a good medic. We can get to his farm much more quickly and ?"

    "Yatta's dead," Owen said brusquely. "There's no one nearby who can help us. Can you fix a tourniquet?"

    Beru blinked at him in horror, wondering what actually had happened out there. Yet there was no time to hear the story. "I think so," she said, taking the binders and cloths and wrapping them around Cliegg's thigh. The sight and feel of the blood ? red and slippery and sticky ? was making her ill. But she knew that Cliegg was going to die unless she made the tourniquet tight enough. Owen wasn't in good enough shape to help her, though he tried, holding and twisting where she asked him to. Finally, she wrapped a new layer of gauze over everything, an>
  22. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=peru]Readers? Choice During the Saga Completed Story:[/b][/color]

    [i][color=peru]Original Trilogy:[/color][/u][/i]

    [b][color=mediumpurple](Start category excerpts)[/color][/b]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?The Nostril of Palpatine?[/i] by [color=red]Grand_Admiral_Jaxx[/b][/color]

    The Emperor sat on his royal seat on Coruscant. The Imperial Palace overlooked the skyscrapers and the various buildings, and the traffic could be seen. It was dark, but it was not night. The rain and the lightning was passing over the palace at that time. People wondered if the lightning came from the Emperor or if it was natural lightning. The Emperor sat silently to himself. The pitter-patter of the rain could be heard, then as Palpatine inhaled, a fweep emitted from his nose. He exhaled, then sniffed heavily. He exhaled slowly, closed his eyes. He inhaled again, and continued to breathe. The sounds of ragged, rasping breathing overtook the noise of the rain and the lightning. For a moment, the Emperor thought that his apprentice, Darth Vader had arrived, but no, there was no brooding presence behind him. There was no presence. Palpatine was alone, all alone. He felt alone, and solitary. But the semi fweep mixed with the snort and the harsh intake of air revealed Palpatine's latest enemy.

    With one withered hand, he reached. He reached for his olfactory organ. Extending one finger, he brushed past his lips and held his finger there for a moment, feeling his wrecked epidermis. He was disturbed: the Dark Side of the Force destroyed his skin. But onward he continued with his finger, then he plunged. Exploring the cavern of his face, the primary method of air intake and exhaust, he felt around. He wiggled his finger. His fingertips cut into the side of the cartilege of his nose. It hurt. He had to cut his nails soon. But where was it? Aha. There. He snagged it with his fingernail, and tugged downward gently. He became impatient and yanked his finger out. Nothing. It was still there. He reached back in his smelling sensor and felt it again. He scratched it gently, willing it down. And finally, it was free. He breathed normally again. He held his fingertip near his face, exploring the object. Slowly, with his other hand, he brought his hands together, then, with one hand holding it, the other hand flicked it away. He lost sight of it in mid air and was sure it landed on the floor. Before long, a cleaning droid popped out of no where and took it away. Palpatine leaned back in his chair and relaxed. The lightning was gone, and the rain stopped. The sun reappeared.


    [b]Excerpt from [i]?The Price of Failure?[/i] by [color=red]Imperial_Ladyhawk[/b][/color]

    Vader raised his head as the black throne began to turn. He no longer saw his master as an old man ravaged by dark side energies. To him, Palpatine was the embodiment of the Dark Side itself.

    And then his nightmare came true. The Emperor rose, his black-robed figure at that moment appearing more threatening than anything Vader had ever seen before. Palpatine raised his arms, his fingers pointing at the Dark Lord, and a burst of blue-white lightning hit Vader full-blast in the chest.

    His whole being erupted in agony.

    There was nothing he could do, no way he could stop the attack. Reeling backwards, gasping for breath, Vader clutched at his chest. Suddenly the lightning bolts stopped. His whole body tingled with electricity and his breath came in wheezing gasps.

    "Well, Lord Vader, do you have anything to say?" The Emperor regarded him out of narrowed eyes.

    Vader endeavoured to kneel again but his mechanical breathing must have been damaged, for he had difficulty drawing breath. "My Master..." His knees gave way and he fell forward onto the floor, bringing his hands up just in time to catch himself. His breathing stabilized somewhat and he tried again.

    "My Master, please, I have important infor..." He doubled up, panting, and clutched at his chest. Through the pain he could feel wires in his chest melting, adding the hot pain of melt>
  23. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=darkgoldenrod]Readers? Choice Beyond the Saga Completed Story:[/b][/u][/color]


    [b][color=firebrick](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?You Don?t Bring Me Flowers Anymore?[/i] by [color=red]Amidala_Skywalker[/b][/color]

    Coruscant had changed. It had been years since Emperor Palpatine, and subsequently, Mon Mothma had inflicted terror on the galaxy.

    Han Solo hadn?t liked it then. He didn?t like it much now. Never before had he seen such a diverse, thriving metropolis transform in such little time. With the scourge of oppression lifted, the people of Coruscant had decorated their planet like a child?s toy on Life Day. It wasn?t what he had expected or braced himself for ? pleasantries were unanticipated in a place where everything had been so austere. Where exactly was he? The question echoed in his mind. Around him and as far as the eye could see, smiling faces greeted his glances.

    However, the projection of security formed by the government didn?t interest this particular individual, nor did the friendliness of the open atmosphere ? rather, he was bound to a duty he himself had established. He had prepared himself for this mission, and no matter what he encountered, he knew how to stand proud - despite what had been stripped from him. He hadn?t made a commitment to this world, or with the New Republic. Han Solo had abandoned this galaxy long ago, and had relegated it to his most distant memories. Even if this revolutionary flux swept through every inhabited world for light-years, everything Coruscant stood for was in his past. This venture wasn?t going to alter his perspective, and he intended to never let it change the judgments he had previously formed. Coruscant may have donned a new exterior, but within it still bred of the rebellious days of scum and lies? where different species were forced to fight, steal, and kill together for their survival.

    Overcoming the Imperial rule had been difficult, and many had given their lives to the cause. Decades later, nobody remembered the heroes, and surely no one spoke of the wretched villainy transposed by either side. Han had begun to wonder what had changed since those years of conflict; only those who had bore witness to the disaster could form a conclusion.

    Nothing. Nothing was the answer.

    Behind all this was an unstable benchmark of management, perched on the breaking point. These people ? these citizens ? were as unaware as they had been nearly thirty years ago.

    Was Han Solo bitter at the state of the galaxy? Yes. Did he have cause to despise those he had never met? Yes, for he blamed their fanatical regulations on the shreds of life to which he still clung. They had reduced him to a rugged outsider, eliminated his contacts, and forced him back to a single Outer-Rim prison planet. The world was more of a holding cell, dedicated to containment, and never freedom ? that justified his use of the word ?prison?. Surprisingly enough, he had learnt a lesson from his imprisonment there, and had even come to notice how that sector of the galaxy refused to accept rule handed down to them by mindless bureaucrats.

    He had found himself in the company of those who had also been evicted from their former positions ? many of whom had served during the time of Emperor Palpatine - and were required to expand into moisture farming. The one-time smuggler could even declare them his friends, as they were one of the few supports he permitted himself to lean on. It was unlike Han Solo to rely on anyone, except good old Chewie. He had never allowed himself that luxury.

    But that was before a woman barged into his life, caught his gaze, and corned his heart. Long ago, what now seems like forever and a day, he had fallen in love. Real love. Not holodrama melodramatic muck. In her eyes he had been her scruffy nerfhearder protector, who had rough edges and a smart-talking gist about him. She had tortured him with the instances of tender caresses and sof>
  24. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [b][u][color=navy]Readers? Choice Beyond the Saga Completed Story:[/b][/u][/color]

    [i][u][color=navy]Ancient History/Far Future:[/i][/u][/color]

    [b]Category eliminated.[/b]

  25. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001

    [u][b][color=slategray]Readers? Choice Vignette:[/b][/u][/color]

    [b][color=darkolivegreen](Start category excerpts)[/b][/color]

    [b]Excerpt from [i]?You Don?t Bring Me Flowers Anymore?[/i] by [color=red]Amidala_Skywalker[/b][/color]

    ?In dreams, Princess,? he replied, huskily, ?you greet me with a hug.?

    ?Oh, Han?? Leia looked unsure, her eyes darting round to glimpse at the surrounding area. ?If we?re caught, I will become the laughing stock of the Hapan royal family.?

    Han scrunched his face up, making an expression of disgust. ?Politics, Leia. How could one more scandal matter??

    Leia seemed to weigh this, her eyes distant. Sucking in a deep breath, she smiled, whisking her hand up his chest to clasp his burly shoulder. With her eyes closed, she pulled Han to her, and their bodies slotted together like two pieces of a puzzle reunited. These pieces were meant to function as one, and if divided, the portrait imprinted against the blocks would disintegrate. They had disintegrated once before, but fought for alliance.

    Leia pushed Han into the side of her neck, clutching at the man who had once been such a vital part of her life. In the days of the Rebel Alliance, Leia had grown to accept his tongue-in-cheek attitude, and in turn, he bit back comments about her aristocratic upbringing.

    ?I?ve been away from you too long, Leia,? Han said into her neck.

    Leia?s head bobbed up and down. ?I know, Han. I know.?

    Dipping his cheek near the sensitive area of her neck, he felt content once more. It had been a long time since he had felt like this, and to experience it again was mesmerising. Fantasies couldn?t surpass the reality of the situation.

    ?Tell me, is he good to you??

    Leia rubbed her hair across his own, overlooking the dirt that caked his follicles. She was humming something to herself ? a quiet tune.

    It took her a few moments to finish her melody. ?It isn?t a case of treating me well, Han. In Hapan society, the woman holds a superior position to the male, which is why there is a Queen Mother. In public, he thinks on his own, but remains reserved in the presence of the media ? I see the value in his opinions and experience. In private, he?s a very kind man, and we treat each other as equals.?

    At this response, Han withdrew, his fingers dancing to her shoulders where he could feel her skin beneath her thin garment.

    ?You respect him? and love him,? Han admonished, emphasising words with a momentary pause.

    Leia?s brow creased, and her hand crept up to scuffle his front locks of hair. Frolicking with the strands, she reshaped it into the style he used to wear.

    Han knew she ached for the times of old, and the period where she was satisfied with the life she had crafted. But ever since things had changed, her control over destiny was weakening.

    Upon seeing her, he knew he had missed the inspiration for his strength. And Leia had missed her other half.

    ?Love is a strong word, Han,? she corrected, adding the finishing touches to his hair. ?It shouldn?t be used loosely.?

    Han?s jaw straightened, and he moved away from her. His feet lead him to a small patch of rare flower species, where his thoughts, and the questions he wished to ask her, engulfed him. Everything was running so fast ? he hadn?t predicted that. When he had first conceived of this reunion, he had not accounted for the mood of the meeting. Leia was always one to lead the conversational arc, and he?d just follow along, injecting remarks of sarcasm. Had she become docile in the years passed?

    From behind, he sensed her move to pursue him. An instant later, her petite hand was resting on his shoulder, and she was peeking around to tentatively smile at him.

    ?It has been so long. I sense you have changed, and are not the man I knew and adored,? she said. ?What have you been doing for the last few years??

    Han shrugged her hand off, brushing his worn grubby clothes. ?They locked me up, Leia. I?ve been living on this Outer-Rim world for twenty years ? contained there and unable >
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