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Beyond - Legends Before - Legends Saga - Legends Whiskers' One-Shots - Updated 8/25 w/ Chasing Ghosts (Late 2016 OC Challenge Response)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by whiskers, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Title: Young Jedi Knights: The Jungle Ruins
    Characters: Jacen Solo
    Timeline: Roughly 24 ABY
    Summary: A companion piece to YJK: Training Flight, Jacen Solo takes an early morning excursion into the jungles of Yavin IV to capture an image of another animal for his already extensive collection, and runs into a reminder of the jungle planet's violent past.

    ***

    The jungles of Yavin IV teemed with life. Through the thick trees that emerged from the swampy ground to the thick grasses, the sounds of dozens of animals merged together into a menagerie. Jacen Solo could name the sounds of each and every one of them: the belly-bird with its deep song to attract mates, the flap of the three-eyed Gort's blue feathers, the trampling of the runyip subspecies native to the moon.

    The young Jedi knew each of the animals by heart and kept many of the smaller ones as pets inside of his quarters in the Jedi Praxeum. The larger ones he had to settle for live recorded holoimages of, at least after a Yavin Capra had broken free of its pen and gotten aboard Mirax Horn's freighter and eaten half of the supplies meant for the Praxeum.

    Jacen clutched the holorecorder in his hands as he waded chest deep in the swamp, holding the tool high above the water line to protect the sensitive equipment inside. Yavin Capras weren't his quarry today but something a little more dangerous. He'd heard stories from Jaden Korr and other Knights about a large lizard species that lived deep inside of the jungle. The creature was as large as Jacen himself, if the tales were to be believed, and lithe as a whisperkit.

    The long blades of grass parted before Jacen's hand as he stepped out of the swamp and into a small glade. In the middle of the clearing, covered with dark red rust stains, was the ten meter tall form of an Imperial Juggernaut. The large weapon of war sat on ten wheels long since torn apart by time and animals, thick ivy vines scaling its length. Jacen followed the vines up to the top of the hull and then up the five meters tall observation spire, the transparisteel panels shattered.

    He paused as he surveyed the area, hand going to the newly constructed lightsaber upon his hip. Qorl's survival in a TIE fighter nearly 25 years previously still fresh on the young Jedi's mind. "Hello?" Only his echo returned his call.

    The craft, as rusted and damaged as it was, would still make a decent spotting location for his hunt. Jacen let the holorecorder drop and hang by the cord around his neck. The vines were sturdy to the touch and as thick as the boy's wrist. He couldn't hazard a guess at how long the battle tank had been sitting in the Yavin jungle, but he could easily imagine that it had been there long before he had been born.

    Putting his hands on the makeshift rope, Jacen jumped as high as he could and planted his feet against the durasteel hubs of the giant wheels. The thick protein wall of the vines bit slightly into his hands, but held his weight easily. He called upon the Force to bring additional strength to his arms and legs, fingers gripping the vine tightly. He shimmied up the vine, feet finding the occasional rest holds in the rusted out holes that spotted the tank.

    Hands clutched at the damp metal on top of the Juggernaut as Jacen Solo reached the artificial summit. He hitched his leg up from the side and used his own weight to roll himself over onto his back. Catching his breath, Jacen stood up and viewed the jungle from his current vantage point.

    Through the thin fog that rose off of the ground, Jacen could see the dark ochre stone of a Massassi ziggurat hidden in the tree branches. The young Jedi smiled and walked to the other end of the Juggernaut. With a creak of bending metal hitting his ears, Jacen felt himself falling. He flailed out with his arms and caught the edges of the hole. A scream escaped Jacen's lips though the young Jedi knew that no one could hear him. The slight trickle of warm blood tickled the inside of his leg.

    Legs kicked in nothingness, trying desperately to find purchase that wasn't there. Jacen looked down and saw nothing but overturned seats and empty storage crates, a haphazard landing even if he did use the Force to slow his descent. He closed his eyes and focused, feeling the connection between his own tendons and muscle and filling them with energy. Elbows moved downward onto the metal, warm skin pushing against the still cool hull. Jacen's chest rose from its location in the pit so that now his stomach was at the edge.

    The young Jedi grinned as he made it up to his stomach and lay on the top hull of the tank. A soft creaking of metal breaking killed the grin, replacing it with another scream as the hull gave way yet again. Jacen fell for what felt like forever and landed hard against slanted storage locker. Back screaming in pain, he slid down the makeshift slide and was dumped onto the floor of the crew compartment.

    Jacen laid still, every worse case scenario running through his head. He back hurt, as did his legs and arms, but nothing seemed to be broken. He slowly stood up, broken pieces of his holorecorder crackling upon the ground. A curse escaped from his lips and he momentarily panicked, waiting for a rebuke that never came.

    Eyes looked around the dark room, shadows forming from overturned chairs and storage lockers from the beam of light emitting from the large hole in the roof of the Juggernaut. Jacen removed the lightsaber from his belt and switched it on to form a rudimentary glowstick. He walked through the green-lit chamber, passing discarded blaster rifles and ration packs.

    Jacen found a hatch, set off on the bulkhead. His free hand found the controls offline, the reactor to the craft long since drained. He stared at the sealed hatch and at the glowing blade in his hand. Uncle Luke had told them about how dangerous lightsabers were when Jacen and his friends first made them and how easily they could cut through practically any material.

    His grip on the lightsaber's hilt was so hard that his knuckles turned white as he aimed the blade perpendicular with the closed hatch. Jacen concentrated, focusing solely on the point where he needed to stab. Precision was paramount. Hitting the bulkhead at an angle would result in the blade ricocheting off and to Force knows where. With a sideways plunge, Jacen sent the green blade into the exact center of the hatch. It sank into metal slowly.

    Jacen emerged from the glowing hatch an hour later, exhilarated as the jungle breeze met the hot sweat on his skin. He snuffed out his lightsaber blade and jumped the four meters to the soft ground below, using the Force to slow his descent. He turned to look at the Massassi ziggurat in the background. The howlers would have to wait another day.

    Jaina was at the base of the rebuilt Jedi praxeum when he returned, cleaning the trainer X-wing that she had been flying earlier that day and helping a blue-plated astromech droid down from its socket. Engine grease stained her hands. "Jacen, what happened to you?" Her brown eyes widened as they caught sight of his torn jumpsuit.


    He twisted his mouth into the same lopsided grin that his father was famous for. "Nothing much. I just had a nice trip!"
     
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Well, curiosity sure led to a different than expected outcome. :p Glad he was able to come out with relatively few injuries, just a few scrapes. ;)
     
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  3. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005

    Kind of a microcosm of Jacen's life, isn't it? I originally thought about putting a howler into the wreck, but decided against it. I also originally wrote this before Training Flight, but decided that this was the weaker of the stories, so that one got published first. Thanks for reading, Nyota, as always.
     
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Catching up again...

    Routine Mission

    Nice to see these two again -- I remember catching a glimpse of them in one of the Wentlas stories, but it was little more than a cameo, and IIRC it was also in a different timeline. Here their grittier, darker side comes through very clearly, and with fantastic action writing as always. I also really enjoyed how you described Kyle's unconscious mental process with the Force -- "time sped up to its normal speed" was a great description!

    The Jungle Ruins

    And yay, another sequel -- or rather, a companion piece. I was very curious to know what Jacen was up to in Training Flight, and I wasn't disappointed. I'll add to what Nyota said that it wasn't only curiosity that led to a different result, but also youthful clumsiness. Jacen isn't yet the seasoned warrior that he becomes in the NJO, and it really comes across here -- he still has a few things to learn about the joys and pitfalls of going out on an expedition on his own.
     
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  5. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Jacen Jones, explorer extraordinaire! I agree with Nyota, not at all what I was expecting at the end!

    I just read all of your vignettes, I really enjoyed Lumiya's backstory! Thanks for writing!
     
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  6. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    You are right, in addition to being in another, Legends continuity short in this thread, Jan made a cameo in Surviving Hope. As for their dark and gritty side, it's always been a bit of an undercurrent with these two: she's an intelligence agent who very clearly doesn't like losing and he's always had his brushes with the dark side, making them pretty much pure anti-heroes. Love writing them, though.

    Untrained usage of the Force has always given me trouble, mainly "how powerful should it be?" I stuck to the basics, though, a bit of precognition combined with Speed, which the whole "time slowing down" is taken from how it's simulated in Jedi Outcast/Academy.

    I've always liked Jacen and his story arc, and it's always fun in a way to take a look at some of the galaxy's most notorious beings before their fall to the dark side. Naturally, we had a lot of that with Jacen in the official books, but I still have to add my creative input. :p

    Here, we have him as relatively inexperienced. He's built a lightsaber, so it's obviously after Lightsabers in the YJK series and probably after Shards of Alderaan at the very least, but he's still not used to being fully on his own, and it gets him into trouble.

    As always, thanks for reading and reviewing, Chyntuck, it's much appreciated.



    Well, there was also that, wasn't it? The son of a character played by Harrison Ford goes out in the jungle and runs into trouble of an archaeological nature? I kind of had to that!

    Lumiya's backstory. As I've said, many times before, I'm a fan of characters that don't get a whole lot of representation, and she was one of them. Her backstory as a Sith also intrigued me, because the majority of what we got about that time period in her life was a paragraph in an RPG article, or just the slightest blurb in a magazine piece. We know who she was and we know what she became: what's in between that? And that's why I wrote those Lumiya pieces.

    Thanks SiouxFan!
     
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  7. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Title: The Long Road to Recovery
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Alexis Wentlas, Galen Wentlas
    Summary: After being rescued from an Imperial prison camp, Alexis Wentlas must adjust to life outside of captivity. Inspired by the Spring 2016 OC Revolution Challenge--have your character that's normally busy doing nothing.

    ***

    Electric nerves in her right leg tingled, wires sending the slightest hint of sensation along the tawny synthflesh. Imaginary pins and needles pricked at every millimeter of her leg from bare toes to the seam centimeters above her knee.

    The med droid had said that there wouldn't be a noticeable seam between her new cybernetic leg and what was left of her organic limb, but Alexis could see it plainly. The insufferable robotic skeleton also said that the skin would match hers exactly, but when she studied it closely, the barest of difference in the shift of the shade was visible to only her.

    She lay on the couch inside of her parent's living suite aboard their assault frigate, head resting against the plush armrest. The couch was joined by matching crimson chairs, all of them in front of a kitchenette. The smell of freshly brewed caf filled the air, bringing the briefest hints of familiarity to her nostrils. The Imperial prison camp had never served caf; they had barely even served food. What nutrition that the Empire had provided to them came in the form of a viscous gruel that lacked both taste, color and odor.

    Alexis scrunched her eyes closed, the lids so tight together that the center of her vision pulsed brightly in red and purple. She breathed in slowly through her nose, holding the breath for a matter of heartbeats before releasing the building pressure in her lungs through her mouth. She repeated the gesture and again, the pain in her leg slowly dissipating with each breath.

    The door hissed open and hazel eyes blinked quickly as the lights of the suite exploded into life. A middle aged man walked into the room, brown hair slightly greying and wearing an Alliance naval uniform. Eyes that matched her own looked across the room at her, widened in surprise.

    "I didn't expect to see you here, Lex," he said. He removed his blue jacket and hung it up on the rack next to the door. "You were supposed to go see Dr. Varrens today."

    "I didn't go."

    Alexis didn't move from her seat, even as her father walked in front of her and sat in the nearby chair. "I can see that." He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "Why not?"

    She rolled her eyes and scoffed aloud. "Go there and do what? Talk for another hour about things that I've talked about before? Say everything that happened, all the deaths, all the torture and for what? For her to tell me for the tenth time that it isn't my fault?"

    Her father's eyes narrowed in concern or pity, Alexis couldn't tell exactly which. "Is that why you won't go? Do you think it is your fault?"

    Alexis sat up from her prone position in a movement so quick that the room briefly spun around her head. "No! I mean..." She remained there, mouth agape and the silence damning her with every second. Her blood boiled, face turning crimson. "I didn't stay here just to get a therapy session from you!" She pushed herself off of the couch and stormed out of the common room, entering her quarters.

    The galactic plane was outside of her windows, the silhouettes of over a hundred ships appeared as dark blotches against the bright core. Voices drifted in through the metal door, muffled but still recognizable as her mother and father talking. About her, more than likely. She was a frequent topic between the two of them.

    They would deny it, and they constantly did, but Alexis could see the truth of it in their eyes and the way that they looked at her. Pity, frustration, even the barest hints of anger, Alexis could see it with every askew glance and read between the lines of their words. It all lead to four words, never spoken but always hinted at, "you're not the same."

    The bed was too soft as she laid on it, the frame of her body sinking deep into the spongy material. She pulled the thick cover off of the mattress and lay on the floor, curling like an infant. The chime of her privacy alarm sounded through the room, followed by a soft voice. "Lex, can I come in?"

    Her mother's voice was filled with concern that she didn't want any of. "Go away!" she yelled, her throat tearing at the gesture.

    "Lex, I just want to talk."

    "Leave me alone!"

    The noise behind the door stopped, the anger inside of Alexis' mind replaced by relief. The disturbance was gone and she could finally just lay down in peace. Her throat tinged at the thought, growing steadily larger that the guilt nearly choked. Once again she had lashed out at her mother, someone who was only trying to help her. She curled tighter together on the floor, making herself as small as possible.

    Muttering continued behind her door as her parents continued to talk. Alexis couldn't understand the words and pulled the extra pillow down from her bed to cover her ears. The muffled words faded away, replaced only by the sound of the blood pumping in her ears.

    A hiss sounded through her room as the door rushed open. Alexis laid with her back to it. "I said I didn't want to talk!" She cried out again. The door closed almost as quickly as it had opened, leaving Alexis alone once again.

    Scratching filled the ear, the sound of small claws on metal somehow breaking through the foam barrier around her ears. Alexis turned around on the ground, facing the direction of the sound. A small, fur-covered shape was at the base of the door, stretching its lithe body as far as it could reach. The felinoid creature turned to look at her, small ears quivering. It mewed at her.

    "Who are you?" Alexis said. The juvenile whisperkit meowed at her in response, white pointed teeth sticking out from the dark fur. "Come here," she beckoned. The kit walked up towards the pile of blankets, tentative in its new environment and strange person in front of it. The creature crept up towards her, nose whiskers twitching in the recycled air. Her finger touched the kit's pink nose, startling the animal and sending it back a few steps.

    Alexis rested her head against the pillow and watched as the kit curiously explored its new surroundings. It slowly approached her again before dropping next to her on the floor. She ran her fingers through the whisperkit's grey fur and felt as her eyes grew heavy with each purr from the animal's throat.
     
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    whiskers - this is very realistic and a super response to the prompt.

    Alexis doesn't want to talk, feels guilty and no one telling her she shouldn't doesn't make it go away; talking doesn't either. So the others feel frustrated and concerned, naturally, and of course the unspoken message is you're not the same. How could she ever, ever be? So she lashes out and feels guilty for that too. :eek: What a vicious sad cycle!

    Then the whisperkit comes in all cute and nonjudging. Her parents and therapist aren't either, really. She just feels like they are. [face_thinking] And so now Alexis is finally able to get a few moments of serenity. @};-

    I love the little details you weave through here: the colors, sounds, and smels. It lends an air of should be normal but isn't to the whole thing. =D=
     
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  9. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I had this in mind ever since the prompt was introduced and I finally got around to actually writing it. There were a couple other ideas that I had, but this is the one that really stuck.

    There's one thing that I really wanted to do after writing Breakout and that was to make sure that Alexis just wasn't able to action hero the whole trauma and brush it off. She's been deeply affected by her imprisonment and that's how I wanted to show it. And so the cycle continues on.

    While doing the research on PTSD for this, I began to read more in depth about therapy animals, and one article in particular about a Vietnam veteran who had a therapy cat. It just fit, in my mind.

    As for her parents and therapist not judging and her just feeling like they are, it's another bit I added after the first few paragraphs about the "issues" she's having with her cybernetic leg. Think phantom pains when your nerves have been hooked up to the machine anyway.

    I love using the senses in my stories, not only to help build the scenes in the mind's eye, but to add that hint of normalcy even when things aren't normal at all. And even in the normal, we see Alexis' mind being brought right back to the source of the trauma. Even the exact opposite of the prison camp brings her right back there.

    Thanks for reading, Nyota!
     
  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Wow. This gave me shivers. Findswoman and I were talking about this the other day - I showed her an image from a Hey Arnold! episode with a turtle that's depressed while held in captivity, but once set free, doesn't appear delighted, either. Sure, Alexis is not a turtle and has had a different kind of trauma during her imprisonment...still, some things are universal.

    I see you already responded about the whisperkit being Alexis' therapy animal, and now I regret that I had not finished the comment last night, as I would've guessed it right. Well, d'oh!

    The phantom limb feeling, the sense that she may never be what she is again - in her own head, not necessarily to others, the PTSD-triggered panic attack, the general detachment...you did your homework on all these things pretty well, sir; without making it all overly dramatic, giving Alexis strange autonomous nervous system manifestations of her condition and so on. It's believable, it makes sense.

    The one moment that was particularly beautiful was Alexis staring at the stars through the viewport. There is hope somewhere out there and, deeply inside of her tortured mind and body, she knows that the said hope is not lost.
     
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  11. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I haven't seen that episode, and I thought I'd seen most of Hey Arnold! Obviously, the metaphor is the same in both stories cases: all of the experiences of captivity don't magically disappear just because you're freed. Alexis had been mutilated during her capture, tortured, and sent to a prison camp where she did hard labor. During the escape itself, she saw just how brutal she and others needed to be to even have a chance of escaping with their lives.

    Not a problem. You still guessed correctly, I just revealed the answer before you could reply. Therapy animals have always intrigued me ever since I first saw a seizure dog when I was at college. The use of them as PTSD relievers, mainly brought to the mainstream due to real-life conflicts recently, was also something I followed with great interest.

    My own grandfather experienced phantom limb after his leg was amputated years ago. My main issue was how to convey that in a traumatized woman who already has a prosthetic that is hooked up to her nervous system? I settled on her brain misreading the hook ups at times, turning it extremely sensitive as well as providing the pins and needles effect. I also added in her seeing things in the prosthetic that aren't really there: i.e. the "seam" between her organic limb and the replacement, as well as the difference in skin color.

    Perhaps one of the major things about portraying something like this is how to have it come across without making it too dramatic or hokey. I recall reading commentary about how Edward James Olmos stayed up to personally feel the effects of sleep deprivation for Battlestar Galactica's episode 33. He then advised his fellow castmembers to pick one symptom and put that into their characters. That's kind of what I tried to do here, and then put that into the relative background of the story, focusing mainly on how her experiences are affecting her daily life.


    I kind of transposed this with the end of Empire Strikes Back, not only because this all came about because she was shot down on Hoth, but to get the same bittersweet feeling as the ending. Yeah, she's been beat up and traumatized, the same as the rest of the Rebellion, but she'll be able make it through in time.

    Thanks for reading, Ewok Poet, and for the great reply.
     
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  12. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A lovely response to the challenge. Alexis feeling what she feels and expressing it against the loved ones. Love the kit helping her.
     
  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Wow. I never expected that you'd write the sequel to Breakout for this challenge, but of course it makes perfect sense. Dealing with the aftermath of trauma (and phantom limb pain) definitely feels like "doing nothing" after all that time in a penal colony where the guards wouldn't let you time to breathe, and you convey very well how disorienting that must be.

    I can perfectly well picture Alexis's sense of regression here, curled up in a foetal position first on the couch, then on the floor of her room, and her inability to comprehend what her parents feel -- she sees pity instead of compassion, frustration instead of concern, and anger at her instead of anger at her captors. Very revealing also that she finds the bed too soft and seeks out the sensation of the hard floor. In a way she puts herself back in the position of being a prisoner because it gives her a sense of purpose.

    And as Nyota's Heart said, the adorable little whisperkit comes in, and she can't but see it as nonjudging. There's a very parent-like gesture behind Galen and Anya's choice to get it for their daughter, but it's the sort of parenting Alexis needs right now [face_love]
     
  14. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005

    That's one of the sad things about anger: it really doesn't care who you decide to unleash it on. The kit was a favorite part for me to write, as well. Thanks for reading, earlybird!

    This was pretty much the first thing to pop into my head when I read the challenge. The very first image was of Alexis laying on the couch, in misery, after skipping out on her therapist's appointment.

    Another thing to think about when it comes to the "doing nothing" theme: in addition to dealing with her own mental issues as a result of her imprisonment, she's obviously been removed from duty due to all of this.

    The fetal position is obviously very symbolic and its use in art is widespread. It shows vulnerability and is a very easy way to show that feeling. And very well said on that latter part. I found that particular portion challenging yet rewarding to write.

    She's been used to a metal cot for months and now the very feeling of an actual bed is almost alien to her. I wouldn't say that it gives her a sense of purpose, though that is a great interpretation, but rather one of familiarity. Of course, she still is a prisoner, isn't she?


    Cats can be royal jerks sometimes, but they can also be a person's best friend. And that is what she needs the most at the moment: something that can't be seen as judging her. As for getting the kit for Alexis, since they're at the ESB rendezvous point, I can just imagine Anya taking their cruiser to the nearest civilized planet (likely Eriadu, looking at the map) just to get it for her.

    Thanks for reading, everyone!
     
  15. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    First of all: Ah, kitty!!!!!!!! :D

    Okay, now that I got that out of the way, on to a more specific review...

    It's definitely a fantastic response to the prompt. Not doing anything doesn't mean that something isn't actually going on underneath the surface. It's the periods of inactivity where the greatest insight can occur. In Alexis' case, she is certainly in the midst of this kind of experience. Unfortunately she's got so. much. (word that can't be said here). to work through mentally and physically. (Totally understand skipping out on the therapist's appointment because the therapist isn't qualified enough to get ANYTHING that has happened and is happening to Alexis. Honestly, some therapists wouldn't be qualified to judge a beauty pageant). She's coming out from that Nietzsche type abyss, but nobody can understand just how effed up her entire situation was and is (and probably always will be, even if she does undergo some version of healing). She needs something to draw away from the bottom, but even the most well-meaning people aren't always able to understand what is necessary for this to happen.

    Thankfully she's got the nonjudgmental kit to help her get through the crap and find her own version of life.
     
  16. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I take it that people liked the cat. :)

    That's something that I really wanted to convey. To the lay person, Alexis just simply lounging on the couch while skipping her therapist session may seem like she doesn't want help. The exact opposite is true: she wants help, but everything that's happened to her is simply too much to take for her at the moment. Under the surface she is broiling with emotion. Which leads us to...

    Exactly. While the therapist could very well be qualified or just some marriage therapist, she's now been pressed completely out of her league by Hoth and its aftermath.

    Abyss is certainly correct. Wounded so bad that her leg needed to be amputated, given a substandard replacement for it, tortured physically and mentally before being placed in a work camp for months, followed by a hellish breakout. Good Lord, I need to write a fic where she goes on vacation, or something... The point is that kriffed up barely even scratches the surface of her experiences.

    You're right that everyone around her means well: her therapist, the med droid that can't find a physical reason for her symptoms, even her parents. And yet, despite all that the latter have been through, they still don't know what they can do--if anything--to help her beyond what they've already tried.

    Nonjudgmental really is the best way to put it. The kit is there to be talked to, if she wants, she can pet it and cuddle with it to relieve her anxiety, just like what happens at the end of the story.

    Thank you for reading, Leiamoody, and for the great prompt.
     
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  17. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    It's been a while, hasn't it, everyone? Well, I do another fine tale to tell this afternoon. It's a return to the alternate universe that started this thread, and, oh, is it getting exciting!

    ***

    Title: Conclusions: A New Hope Infinity Tale
    Characters: Darth Vader, Leia Organa, Thrawn
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: While training a captive Leia Organa, Darth Vader senses something familiar in his young ward.

    ***

    The dark robed figure stood in front of the transparisteel panel in front of him, breathing loud and artificially measured, watching each and every move that took place in front of him. The young girl moved quickly between pillars, a blue blade in her right hand as she evaded the droid in front of her.

    She moved with the grace of someone with years of Force training as she leaped onto the side of one metal container and then off of it, propelling herself like a missile towards her target. A bright flash emitted from the two lightsabers as they connected, and Leia Organa scrambled away from the skeletal training droid.

    Darth Vader studied her moves: the quick slashes that were blocked just as quickly, the riposte that merely scratched the phrik shield, her ducking under a swing that would have beheaded a lesser opponent only to sweep her leg under its. She was powerful, he thought. Much too powerful to be some random being gifted with the power of the Force.

    The Dark Lord of the Sith walked away from the fight, turning his eyes towards the large computer screen in front of him. There was a familiarity to the girl, as well, the welling in the Force around her far too close to comfort. Her Imperial identity profile hadn't been changed since the year prior, the last update from himself, officially announcing that the Princess had been killed during a meteor storm along with the entirety of her crew.

    He went further back, to the very first known records of her: adoption papers for the Queen and Prince Consort of Alderaan. They had, according to the news reports that had been meticulously searched and saved by Imperial Intelligence, adopted a Clone War orphan into their own home after the end of the war and the birth of the Empire. It hadn't set off any alarms at the time; the war had caused a surplus of orphans throughout the galaxy and even Alderaan had suffered under the attacks of General Grievous.

    Darth Vader walked back to the viewport and watched as Leia ducked under another attack from the droid prototype of an unfunded project and stabbed her borrowed lightsaber deep into the metal spinal column. Impressive. She turned off the blade, Obi-Wan's blade, and the realization slammed into Vader with the force of a supernova. Bail Organa had always been a friend of Obi-Wan Kenobi's ever since a mission the two of them undertook in the middle of the Clone Wars. She had been headed to Kenobi's hiding place on Tatooine for help against the Empire and the Death Star.

    "Kenobi's daughter..." The two words echoed in their deep bass tones throughout his observation post. His old Jedi master had a secret love once when he was young, Vader thought, he had watched her die in Kenobi's arms after the bounty hunter Magus killed her. He watched Leia meditate in the middle of the training room, binding the Force to her will, and saw what he was looking for: echoes of Kenobi's features within her. She may have been Siri Tachi's daughter or someone else's, but Vader knew within his heart that Leia was the whelp of Kenobi.

    Her birth aside, she was now the Empire's and had served them well. She had proven quite resistant to the idea at first, but soon saw that this was the only way that true piece could be achieved in the galaxy. It wasn't long after that when she began revealing rebel hideouts and rendezvous points to them.

    Darth Vader walked out of the room and onto the railing overlooking the room. Leia's brown eyes opened, searching for some hint of approval from her teacher. She would get none, as she had for the previous year of training. "You fare well against machines, apprentice, but how will you do against a living being?" He jumped from the railing, using the Force to slow his descent. He landed between two of the four pillars, cape billowing behind him.

    A red blade ignited, matched by her cyan. She backed away from him, eyes wide in fear. "Use your fear against me, young Organa," he said. "It is the only way that you can defeat me."

    Leia moved forward, sending an ineffectual swipe that was parried easily away. Vader remained still, deflecting and sending half-hearted ripostes her way, all to build up the frustration and anger within his pupil. He would be unbeatable to her, a solid mass of durasteel from which there was no yielding.

    Her strikes came in faster now, the rage beginning to boil up from her core and out throughout her body. She had already done so much for the Empire and now it was time to show her the true potential that she possessed. "Fight harder!" Vader barked. "Don't forget that it was I that helped kill your father!" Her rage exploded, echoing throughout the Force sending the dissected scrap of General Mohc's droid flying through the area.

    Vader's blade moved quick to intercept Leia's before finally responding with a downward slice that had killed far lesser opponents. His apprentice's blade held strong despite the shaking in her arms. He made a simple motion with his hand, sending a wave of energy her way that she could not block.

    A sickening thud sounded through the room as Leia hit the nearest durasteel pillar. She lay at the base for long moments before slowly regaining her feet. Her eyes faded from fiery yellow back to her dark brown as she stared at Vader directly into the void-like photoreceptors. "I'll kill you, one day," she said. She stormed off, leaving Obi-Wan's lightsaber on the ground.

    "Thousands have tried," Vader replied. "Yet I still remain." He summoned the fallen lightsaber to hand and left the room. He returned to his command center and casually opened the viewport. The traffic outside of his Coruscant palace. TheImperialPalacestood in the distance, large spires and turrets dominating the night sky. The Emperor was away at the moment, meditating on Byss and leaving the running of the Empire to various aides and trusted companions.

    Vader activated another screen in front of him and watched as reports came in from across the galaxy, appearing as bright dots in the large galactic map. After the destruction of Yavin IV and his execution of Mon Mothma, the Rebellion's activity had fallen heavily and had been limited to small hit and run raids upon Imperial shipping convoys and small fleets. The press of a few buttons limited the report summaries to certain keywords, phrases and notes in the logs of Imperial commanders that Vader had formulated himself to see what deserved his full attention. The smaller hit and runs faded away, leaving only the reports of the larger remnants of the rebel fleet. The escaped slave Ackbar was still out there, Vader mused as he read the reports of a group of large Mon Calamari capital ships making a quick raid upon the Imperial defenses of Kashyyyk, freeing a number of Wookiees before hyperspacing out.

    Ackbar was merely an annoyance now, a kernel of sand that finds its way inside of a boot, but even the smallest grain of sand could blister skin. It was time for this grain to be sifted out. Another report caught his eyes as he continued, an Imperial ambush site for rebels being found out by someone with possible precognitive ability, a job for the Inquisitorious.

    Darth Vader activated the comlink and killed two hawkbats with the same blaster bolt. A blue-skinned man answered, clad in an immaculate white uniform. Black hair with cobalt highlights formed a slight widow's peak upon his forehead. Red eyes, crimson even in the sclera, stared at him. "Lord Vader," he said in a calm voice. "A pleasure, as always. I assume you're to be patched in to Inquisitor Jerec?"

    "Later, Captain Thrawn, it is you and your ship that I have need of at the moment."

    "Whatever the Empire needs done shall be done, Lord Vader."

    Vader looked at the alien captain in front of him. The years since the Clone Wars had fostered anti-alien sentiment unlike any seen before, but his orders on this matter would silence any criticism of what he was planning.

    "The Mon Calamari have been harboring Ackbar for too long, Captain. I am sending a fleet to admonish them."

    "You wish the Vengeance to be among them, Lord Vader? That's not a problem."

    Vader's voice boomed over the hyperspace channel. "I wish the Vengeance to lead them, Admiral."

    If there was any shock to the field promotion within Thrawn, the Chiss hid the feeling well, his sculpted face remaining just as stoic as it had at the beginning of the call. "As you command, Lord Vader."

    "I am placing a large amount of trust upon you, Admiral, do not fail me."


    "Your concern will be unfounded, Lord Vader," Thrawn said with a curt nod of the head. "The remaining rebels will be quite admonished."
     
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb! Pardon a brief fangirl indulgence... Thrawn [face_dancing] [face_dancing] ;) This AU gets more interesting all the time! :cool: :cool: Leia's threat/promise - very much understandable and in-character given the context. And natch, Vader just. Rocks. =D=
     
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  19. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    This is terrific! :D What a cool infinities story. I love the idea that Vader is sooo close to figuring out Leia's heritage - then takes the wrong deduction. And the idea that this is all a consequence of losing Yavin. Which makes me wonder about the fate of a particular x-wing pilot, who apparently didn't hit the exhaust port after all...
     
  20. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005

    Thrawn was someone I wanted to get to in this AU. I set out to show what I thought happened to some of my favorite characters that weren't in the comic series, and Thrawn is certainly one of them. That said, I was scared as hell to even attempt him for a while, but I got my courage up and here we go!

    Leia's threat is very understandable at the moment, but has she already fallen too far down the dark path to follow up on it? I also wanted Vader's goading to have a double meaning, especially considering his erroneous conclusion in this work.

    As for Vader rocking, I've always loved writing Vader duels. Just the extreme power in him, overwhelming opponents, etc.


    It's all based on the ANH Infinities comic series published by Dark Horse. My main complaint about it was that it focused entirely on the first movie, with no EU characters or even ones from later movies. Actually, this story was something that I originally didn't want to do, as I didn't want to touch Luke, Han or Leia at all, instead focusing mainly away from them on other Rebels and Imperials.

    As for Vader coming so close to figuring out Leia's heritage, I was going to have him be right until I reread the end and realized that he hadn't found out. So, a little bit of misdirection his way, taking from all those Rey Kenobi theories in the entertainment news, and here we go.

    As for Luke, Luke's still alive (Wedge and Keyan aren't) and in training on Dagobah with Yoda. Since I've already depicted Leia, I may write a short where he's on a training mission somewhere.

    Thanks for reading, everyone! I'm glad this short was enjoyed!
     
  21. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Another Typical Evening on Nar Shadaa

    Nice enough story.

    Thanks to you, I have added the word "arc" to my lightsabre lexicon.
     
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  22. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005

    Whoops, I missed replying to this. Sorry!

    I love using "arc" in lightsaber duels. To me, it implies that the blade is going so fast that there's a visual delay, just like a child's sparkler.
     
  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Yoicks! Somehow I put myself under the impression that I had left a comment on "The Long Road to Recovery," but it looks like I didn't—mea maxima culpa. [face_blush] You have quite a powerful story here, and given the astute things other commenters have already been said about it, there may or may not be much more for me to say.

    Piggybacking on what Chyntuck said, one of the story's main themes seems to be the fine line between "poor thing"-type pity and earnest compassion. There's a disconnect between what Alexis perceives about her situation and what her parents and doctors perceive; that disconnect seems (from what I can see) to be fundamental to the very nature of trauma recovery, and overcoming it will be as big a step for Alexis as, say, getting used to her cybernetic limb. One kind of wonders, who's misunderstanding whom here? Are the parents and doctors just not getting it? Or do they get it, at least to the extent possible for them, with Alexis not getting (or not really able to get) that they really do (if that makes sense)? Or is it both/and rather than either/or?

    On one hand, I lean toward that last, here as in many things. On the other hand, even if none of the Humans in the story are really "getting it," the cuddly whisperkit undoubtedly does, in its own way. [face_love]

    Mighty fine work—thanks for sharing! =D=
     
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  24. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Not a problem at all, on either point.

    I don't think her parents necessarily pity her. They know she's not well and having enormous amounts of trauma to get through, but they're still unsure on how to help her, or if they even can. Her doctor at least has the theory on understanding the trauma, but even I as the author haven't figured out whether or not they are able to accurately help her. It may end up like that poor family therapist in Groundhog Day. [face_laugh]

    The main thing is this: none of the three have ever been maimed in battle so badly that they needed a prosthetic afterwards. Also, none of them have ever been in actual Imperial custody (though Anya got relatively close), let alone sent to a prison camp for months.


    The whisperkit wants love and attention, and Alexis is certainly willing to offer it.

    Thanks for reading, Findswoman.
     
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  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Just caught up on Conclusions, and I'm still smitten with this AU. You managed to pack quite a few plot twists in this latest entry, and like divapilot I find it was a fantastic idea to have Vader jump to the wrong conclusion about Leia's parentage. And now, this story has left me with a taste of not enough -- I wonder if Leia will come through on her threat, and I want to see the Thrawn/Ackbar confrontation!