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Jae Onasi
02-24-2006, 06:03 PM
Be gentle. I've never written a fanfic before. :)

(see the finished version in the Jedi Archives (clicky) (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=168487) if you prefer the version without comments)

Set fairly shortly after the end of Kotor.

The Adventures of Jolee Bindo
As told to Jae Onasi
(Adapted from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

Chapter 1: The Assignment

I stood before the Jedi Council on Coruscant, trying to remember Master Zhar’s teachings of the Jedi Code to calm the nervousness that seemed to well up unexpectedly and unwanted. Today was the day I would find out if I would be able to continue my training as a Jedi. If I wasn’t selected by a Jedi as a Padawan, I knew I would either return to Onderon or be sent to Telos to help with the Restoration Project. I was already much older than any other apprentice. I had been living on Onderon when Master Kavar discovered my Force affinity and petitioned the Council to waive the age limit. However, that exemption wouldn’t last forever.

“You thoughts betray you, Apprentice,” growled Master Vrook, “Your fear radiates from you.”

“Mind your teachings, Jae,” Master Zhar said calmly, “Let the emotions ebb and the peace will return.”

I felt the encouragement from him. I took a deep breath and willed the emotions to subside. The anxiety would do nothing to help this situation, and so I let it go.

“You have made great strides in your training since I first met you,” Master Kavar said, approvingly. “Your healing and saber skills are much stronger and your mind control is more focused.”

Master Vandar added in his unique style of speaking, “Much progress have you made in your training. That is why before us you have come.”

“A Master has agreed to accept you as Padawan.” Master Vash said. I was elated, but my joy was short-lived when she announced, “Master Jolee Bindo has decided to take you as his student and teach you more of the ways of the Force.”

Master Jolee Bindo was a hero of the Star Forge Battle and recipient of the Republic’s highest honor, the Cross of Glory. He had left the Jedi Order some time ago, but after the defeat of Darth Malak, he decided to return. The Council gladly welcomed him back, and, deeming his skills worthy of any Master Jedi, they awarded him that title. He agreed to take Padawans for training. However, he had developed quite the reputation among us apprentices as a Jedi who rejected a Padawan as quickly as accepting one. The Padawans were usually returned summarily to the Council with such terse comments as “She’s more fearful than a Wookiee on his first hunt in the Shadowlands,” and “His pride is about to make his head explode. I won’t be responsible for cleaning his remains up after he aggravates the wrong person with his overbearing attitude.”

Master Vrook commented, “He is not as disciplined in training Padawans as I would like. Nevertheless, we feel Master Jolee and you complement each other in personality and skills. You and he could become a strong team as you grow in the knowledge of the Force.”

“The decision is also yours,” Master Zhar added. “You may accept or decline his offer. We do not force anyone to enter into a teacher-student relationship. However, the Council feels this would be best for both of you.”

I reflected on all this for a moment. There were no other Jedi I knew who could take on a Padawan at this time. I allowed my thoughts on Master Jolee to flow freely. I had no sense of turmoil telling me that this would not turn out well. I merely sensed strength and purpose in a merging of our paths—and a swirl of activity. We certainly wouldn’t be hermits meditating all day.

“Ah, serve you well your insight does,” Master Vandar observed, “and strong are you. Already you see how this path could be, but be mindful that the future is always in motion. Many paths you may yet follow.”

Master Kavar leaned forward in his chair and smiled, “You can see that it is the Force guiding your paths together, can’t you?”

I considered their words and made my decision. “I am honored that the Council has selected me for further training, and I am grateful for Master Jolee’s offer to take me as his Padawan,” I answered with no small degree of gravity. “I will work hard with him to learn the ways of the Force so I can become a worthy member of the Order.”

Master Vash noted with a nod of approval, “Yes, I do not sense that you will be the 11th Padawan that he abruptly returns to us.”

I raised an eyebrow at that one. I knew there had been several before me, but 10 others?

She continued, “We have also noticed that you have great knowledge of history, and we need to make use of that skill. Many of the records of Master Jolee’s adventures were lost when Malak destroyed the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine. One of your tasks, in addition to your training, will be to talk with Master Jolee to reconstruct these records. His contributions in and out of the Order are significant, and we cannot afford to lose that wisdom and knowledge.”

I nodded my agreement at this task. History was a pursuit I enjoyed.

Master Zhar followed, “Jedi I’iwi leaves tomorrow for the same sector, so you will have time to gather your possessions and say your good-byes to your fellow apprentices today.”

Master Vrook added, “You will find him at times abrupt and impatient, but he nonetheless deserves your respect. He’s a crusty old man, but has a good heart.”

I immediately quashed the thought that Master Vrook obviously would be more acquainted with that attitude than anyone else would. Apparently, I didn’t stop that thought quickly enough, however—I caught faint smiles on the faces of both Master Kavar and Master Vandar.

Master Kavar stood along with all the others, walked over, and handed me a light brown Padawan robe. “The Queen wanted to make sure I gave you this as a gift from Her to remind you of home.”

I had been in her service before leaving for Jedi training. The robe was well constructed of a sturdy material and had subtle detailing around the collar.

“It is exquisite. When you return there, please tell Her Majesty that I am deeply honored by Her gracious gift. I will always think fondly of Onderon and my Queen when I wear this.”

After I had donned it, he embraced me warmly, and said, “We welcome you to the Order, Padawan Jae Onasi!”
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I debarked from the shuttle and squinted into the bright sun, enjoying the warm breezes on my face and the faint perfume of flowers in the air mingling with the other scents of the planet. Throngs of people bustled about, some focused and business-like, others loudly and excitedly greeting their arriving relatives or friends. I searched the platform for Master Jolee. Not seeing him, I stretched out in the Force to see if I could feel his presence.

I found him. He was standing right behind me. I turned around, not quite erasing my startled look. He looked taller in the holovids, but otherwise everything else was just as he appeared there—dark brown eyes and skin, bald, mostly gray beard. The holovids never quite caught the essence of the eyes, though—his showed intelligence, the weight of his myriad experiences in life, and a bit of crinkling at the sides showing he was no stranger to the humor in life.

“Well, it’s about time you finally noticed I was there,” Jolee snorted. “I was beginning to wonder if Vrook had sent me some kind of Force-blind idiot. Your first lesson: Always be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes things come from your blind side, and enemies certainly will exploit that.”

This was my introduction to the man who would both delight me with his wit and frustrate me to no end with his gruff ways.

I could only manage a rather meek “Yes, Master Jolee,” as I absorbed that lesson.

He continued, “Come, you’ve had a long flight. I’ll take that,” he said, taking some of my gear out of my hands. He noted my surprise. “What? Just because I’m supposed to be some master Jedi type, I can’t help a tired Padawan and carry a bag? Come on. If we’re lucky, we’ll catch good traffic back to our quarters and our dinner won’t have burned. And don’t stand there with your mouth half open. The flies around here taste terrible.” He screwed up his face in mock distaste. I couldn’t help but laugh, and off we went.

When we arrived at his quarters, he showed me my room and set my gear down. “It’s not big, but it’s comfortable. You unpack and I’ll finish dinner.”

“Thank you, Master Jolee, this is very nice,” I replied. It was indeed nice—larger than most quarters I’d lived in, with solid, comfortable furniture and a small office off the spacious bedroom. A large window overlooked a nature preserve, and the scene was very peaceful.

“Every time you say ‘Master’, it makes me want to look around for someone else like Vrook. I’d rather you just called me Jolee,”

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

Jolee rolled his eyes in mock dismay, “Well, granted I’m old, and I’ve certainly earned the title of ‘Sir’ and some respect, but if we’re going to be working together closely in tough situations, we can dispense with some of the formalities. I certainly know a lot more than you about the Force and I’m going to teach you a lot of about it, but we’re both Jedi. Unless,” he added with a bit of humor in his eyes, “we’re in front of the Council. I think Vrook likes to see the Padawans virtually grovel at the feet of their Masters. Play it up then.”

I grinned at that.

“While you’re at it, throw that Padawan robe in the refresher. It needs it,” he said. I quickly inspected my robe to make sure I hadn’t soiled it somehow. I must have looked offended, because he went on, “what, you think I’m complaining about some smell or a little dirt? I’m not making inferences about your hygiene, you know. I just happened to notice you’re scratching your neck a lot where the collar is rubbing. It’s a new robe, and if you run it through the refresher a couple times, it won’t be as stiff. We Jedi get into plenty of uncomfortable spots. You may as well have a comfortable robe. Now, when you’re done putting your stuff away, find the kitchen. You don’t need the Force for that—your nose should be good enough. A Jedi who depends just on the Force and forgets his own senses is a fool.” He walked off to finish the meal preparations while I put away my belongings.

After we had finished a good dinner, I told him about the project that the Council wanted me to do during my training with him.

“Why in the world do you want to talk history with me? Books aren’t going to teach you Jedi skills. You should be out making history, not standing around chatting up old men! You’re not getting any younger, you know.” Jolee protested at the request to chronicle his adventures as a Jedi.

“Well, a lot of people could learn a lot of things from your experiences,” I offered.

Jolee grunted, “Humph. A lot of people could learn a lot of things if they just opened their eyes long enough to look around and really see what’s going on in the world, too, and I don’t see that happening.” He leaned back in his chair and stroked his chin. “Well, if you’re willing to listen to an old man’s tales every now and then, I suppose I could humor you with this little project of yours. However, I’m going to do it on my timetable and talk about what I want to talk about. You can do that when you get to my age, and you’ll just have to deal with it.”

He sat down over at his workbench and proceeded to look over some project he was working on.

I was willing to go along with his decision, given that I really had no other choice. So I waited for him to start a story. And waited, and waited, and waited.

When I tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn, he looked up. “You still here? My throat is dry, and you need rest after a long trip! I’ll have something for you tomorrow.” “But, sir…” I began to argue. “Don’t give me that ‘Sir’ stuff. Out! Shoo!” and with that, I was dismissed for the night.

Diego Varen
02-24-2006, 07:13 PM
An excellent start. Nice to see a Fanfic on Jolee. Just as funny as KOTOR. Keep posting and I'll keep reading/posting. Please check out any of my Fanfics. Please.

Oh and Wookie is spelt Wookiee.

Master_ Tyvokka
02-25-2006, 12:25 AM
I like Jolee. Glad to see a fic about him. Keep up the good work.

Jae Onasi
02-26-2006, 08:09 PM
An excellent start. Nice to see a Fanfic on Jolee. Just as funny as KOTOR. Keep posting and I'll keep reading/posting. Please check out any of my Fanfics. Please.

Oh and Wookie is spelt Wookiee.

Fixed it! Thanks for the encouragement, too.

Renegade Puma
02-28-2006, 05:28 AM
A very interesting idea Jae. :) I like it, keep up the good work.

JediMaster12
02-28-2006, 01:39 PM
I liked it. I was giggling when I saw the dialogue for Jolee and I could hear his voice near the back of my mind. Well done Jae, I look forward to seeing more.

Jae Onasi
03-01-2006, 02:11 AM
Chapter 2: The Story of Apprentice Sitor

The violet blade of Jolee’s lightsaber hummed perilously close to my right ear. I barely ducked out of the way as we battled through our fourth practice run. We both had shields on, but that didn’t alter the realism of the duel one bit. Jolee whirled the blade around to try to hit my left arm while I was still slightly off balance. I stepped out to regain a more stable stance and parried his lightsaber just in time, but he anticipated that move, and in the blink of an eye, was moving to strike my right leg. I dropped the blade down quickly to catch his. My turquoise blade hummed as I circled it up to gain control of his blade, nearly succeeding in making the saber slip out of his hands. He deftly slid his blade over the top of mine to escape that catch, and drove the blade straight in toward my chest. I brought my blade to center quickly to deflect the attack, barely in time, and our blades crackled as they struck each other. I kept my blade pressed against his, hearing the electric hiss as the blades touched, trying to find a weakness in his stance.

Suddenly, my saber gave way as he quickly pulled his blade down under mine while stepping left. With my blade too far over to my left, I realized my right side was wide open, and he slashed my right leg as quickly as that thought crossed my mind. Even with the shield on, the impact still smarted. I stepped back out of the practice ring, frustrated and breathing heavily. I found a towel to wipe the sweat out of my eyes and off my face. Jolee, with just a sheen of moisture on his forehead, looked like he hadn’t been doing anything difficult. I was drenched with the perspiration from all the fighting.

Jolee went over to the bench to take a drink of water, “Diluvian water,” he told me, “it’s the best kind in the galaxy. Of course, it means visiting an ice cold planet to get it, but some things are worth the sacrifice.”

I smiled weakly at that. He then walked back over to where I was sitting on the ground trying to stretch out my legs so they wouldn’t stiffen up from all the practice and the strikes where Jolee got through my defense. He sat down on the bench next to me.

“You’re getting better. At least I’m not nailing you in one shot without you so much as even starting a block anymore,” he noted, approval in his voice.

I thought I had learned some decent lightsaber skills at the Jedi Academy. That was until I sparred with Jolee the first time and got repeatedly tagged on the very first shot. Sometimes, to my chagrin, I got hit before I even was able to get out of the ready position.

He continued, “You still aren’t allowing the Force to guide some of your strikes, though, and you’re on the defensive too much of the time. If you let the Force flow through more, you’ll be able to anticipate my moves better. Of course, that just means I’ll have to get sneakier in my attacks, you know.” He patted my shoulder and got up off the bench. “Come on, let’s take a break from this and work on those shooting and lightsaber throwing skills.”

We went to the shooting range, and I picked up a blaster pistol, as did Jolee.

“I can understand being familiar with a ranged weapon, but why do you want me to develop an expertise?” I asked.

“My master told me when I was a Padawan, ‘Your lightsaber is your life, and without it you are defenseless.’ I think he was right. But you never know when you might need a backup,” he answered with a mischievous grin, as he hefted the blaster.

“Has anyone told you that you’re just ornery sometimes?” I replied, smiling.

“I was born ornery. I never gave my mother a moment’s rest, I’m sure. Probably one of the reasons she sent me to the Jedi,” he retorted, “You need to get on with that shooting. You think you’re so young that you can waste all day doing nothing? Go on now!”

I sighted on the target and started the practice.

Once Jolee was satisfied that my marksman skills were, as he called them, sufficient for that day, we worked on throwing lightsabers. I tossed out my saber, guided the blue-green blade around the target, and directed it neatly back to my hand. I was pleased that my throw equalled Jolee’s in length.

“Nice throw, good control. Always keep your eye on that saber, Jae. The moment you take your eyes off of it is the moment it’ll fly back and cut your head off.”

He nodded for me to keep going, and then proceeded to do just about anything to distract me while I continued throwing my lightsaber. At one point, he actually jumped in front of my line of sight. It took all my Force ability to deflect the lightsaber and then will it back into my hand before it sliced both of us.

I felt a flash of anger at what appeared to me to be an incredibly stupid maneuver. I tried to calm that burst of rage, silently repeating to myself the words of the Jedi code before I said to him, “Jolee, jumping in front of a flying lightsaber is not exactly what I’d call an intelligent maneuver.”

Jolee looked amused. “You have to be prepared for the unexpected in combat. And, if you really believe I was in any danger from that, you have a lot to learn, missy. I’m a master, remember? While that doesn’t make me invincible, it does mean that I’ve learned a few tricks. I was dodging weapon attacks long before someone ever put the first diaper on you.”

He went on, “Battles are very unpredictable things. They’re noisy and full of distractions, and nothing is going to be static long enough for you to study it in detail like a dejarik game. Sometimes you’re just going to have to trust your instincts and feelings and review the details later. Do you know anyone who’s going to say to themselves, ‘hey, there’s a Jedi throwing a lightsaber my way. I think I’ll stand still to make it easier for her to hit me!’? Well, OK, maybe Gamorreans might be dumb enough to do that, but everyone else is going to scatter, create mass chaos, and get in your way. Jedi or no, when the battle ends, you’ll be standing there recovering from the adrenaline rush and marveling that you survived the fray. Now throw that blade a few more times before we find some dinner.”

As I tossed my lightsaber out and then caught it on its return, Jolee commented, “You know, all this saber-tossing reminds me of this apprentice named, what was it--Sirot? No, that’s not it. Sotor? No, no…Sitor, that’s it, that’s the one. Well, here we were on Coruscant, and I got saddled with teaching this green apprentice Sirot some lightsaber skills. He grew up on T’lon, where they all cut their teeth on blasters, and he just thought his souped-up Baragwin disruptor pistol was the greatest thing since sliced tsookie worms. We’d been practicing the throw lightsaber technique, and he decided after one lesson that he was now an expert. Do you think he listened to me about always watching for the returning lightsaber? Well, we ended up over in the Eloni cantina--great food, better Juma juice, they need a new Bith accordian player--and we walked in on just the biggest cantina fight I've seen in a decade. Blaster bolts flying, bartender ducking, people getting tossed over tables, heh-heh, good Juma getting wasted--good challenge for an apprentice Jedi to deal with. Well, about 4, maybe 5 Rodians saw us and decided we were going to ruin their fun and they started shooting. Junior Jedi threw his saber--beautiful distance, nice arc, got about 3 of those Rodians, not bad for an apprentice. But then the blaster-brain thinks he's got enough time to shoot the other 2 with that crazy disruptor while he’s waiting for his darn lightsaber to return. He got a few rounds off, and forgot about the saber for a moment. Suddenly, it was flying around crazy, and I had to duck and roll to get out of the way. He didn’t see it return til it was in his face. He ducked, but not quite fast enough, and managed to cut off the tip of his nose. Vandar, of all the Jedi, chewed me out for letting that happen. Actually, I think it improved Sitor’s appearance. Made him more distinguished looking. He never shot off a blaster while carrying his lightsaber again, I guarantee it.”

“You must be joking,” I said incredulously.

“Do I look like a comedien? Sometimes there’s more humor in the truth. I don’t plan on giving you made-up stories for that little task of yours, you know. Now, it’s time for something to eat. I know a fine cantina around the corner. It’s a hole in the wall place, but it has some of the finest food this side of the planet. Let’s go.”

I smiled as I hooked the lightsaber to my belt and put on my robe. I left the pistol on the gun rack.

Diego Varen
03-01-2006, 02:21 AM
Great Chapter. I like how you described the training. I didn't think the Jedi had a shooting range. I liked it when Jolee said.

"Actually, I think it improved Sitor’s appearance. Made him more distinguished looking"

Can you space your Paragraphs. It makes it easier to read.

Renegade Puma
03-01-2006, 06:04 AM
A wonderfully written chapter Jae. You seem to have a real knack for capturing Jolee's personality. Keep up the great work!

Jae Onasi
03-01-2006, 10:50 AM
Great Chapter. I like how you described the training. I didn't think the Jedi had a shooting range.
(snipped)
Can you space your Paragraphs. It makes it easier to read.

I don't know for sure if the Jedi have a shooting range either, but it never hurts to be a well-rounded fighter. :)

I'll try to space the paragraphs--I wrote it on Word before posting it, and some of the formatting didn't transfer, sigh.

Capturing Jolee's personality is a lot of fun. When I play Kotor, I usually pick him up as quickly as possible just to see what he's going to say in any given situation. The scene on Korriban where you have to 'entertain' the Sith students was hysterical--one of the Sith says something along the lines of "do you know how many Sith there are on this planet?" and Jolee exclaims "Twelve-no, wait, thirteen!" I just died laughing at the way it was said, too. The voice actor for Jolee did a fabulous job bringing his character to life.

Thanks!

JediMaster12
03-01-2006, 12:12 PM
Yes and you have done a marvellous job in brining Jolee alive. Every bit of dialogue that you give hime sounds exactly like something he would say because he's old dammit and e's entitled to ramble and ...whatever. I really got a kick out of the line that Pottsie mentioned as well the one:
"Actually, I think it improved Sitor’s appearance. Made him more distinguished looking"
That just did it for me. It was like hearing Jolee all over again and I loved it. Good job and I look forward to seeing more.

Maverick5770
03-02-2006, 10:15 PM
I like it, great story.

Jae Onasi
03-05-2006, 03:30 PM
Chapter 3: Jolee’s First Mission


We had been hiking in the nature preserve for our exercise that day when Jolee stopped short.

“Did you feel that?” he asked quietly.

“I feel the creatures around me, and I can feel a small disturbance, but I can’t pinpoint it.” I replied in hushed tones.

“Well, it’s about time you started noticing those things. Young people never notice the tiny details, but I have hope for you yet,” he said, not unkindly. He continued, “The disturbance is over a ways in those bushes.”

“Ah, I can sense it now. It’s a small animal—a bird, I think, that’s been injured,” I stated, stretching my Force sense more.

“Good, your Force sense is improving. That sense can save you a lot of trouble one day, because it’ll give you a little warning before something attacks. That bird is an Arkalian warbler, to be precise, and those birds are very rare. We need to save this one if possible,” he noted.

“I didn’t know you could identify specific species through the Force,” I said, a bit surprised.

“If you know the specific fauna of the planet well, usually you can. In this case, I happened to use my ears. You have 5 others senses besides the Force, you know, and I’ll remind you to use them, thank you very much. I heard the warbler call over in those bushes. The Arkalian warbler song is unique, and it stopped the same time as the disturbance started. Nothing magic about that,” snorted Jolee. “See if you can find it without terrifying the rest of the creatures, please. I could do it, but then you wouldn’t be learning anything, now, would you?” and then he sat down on a log. “I’m going to sit here and meditate or whatever a Jedi’s supposed to do when they’re waiting around for something to happen. Now go, and don’t kill anything in the process.”

Right then, I swatted a fly that had bit me on the neck. I grinned at the timing while Jolee rolled his eyes in mock dismay and made little ‘shoo’ motions at me with his hands.

I walked as quietly as I could to avoid disturbing the other animals and tried to radiate calm as I approached so that I wouldn’t startle the bird. As I came near the bush where it was perching, I stretched out my senses more, and I could feel it’s pain and terror. I surrounded it with feelings of calm. Realizing the bird would be better off if it was sleeping while I approached and handled it, I ever so slowly entered its mind and carefully willed it to sleep. When I located it on a branch, its eyes were closed peacefully. I picked it up gently and brought it over to where Jolee was sitting. I sat down on the log next to him and began examining the beautiful bright blue and green bird.

“What a gorgeous bird. The coloring is incredible,” said Jolee in a hushed voice, “nicely done putting it to sleep, Jae. Your compassion serves you well. Not to mention if it was awake it’d probably have a bird heart attack at all our handling.”

I inspected its broken wing and cuts; it must have been caught briefly by a predator. I closed my eyes to start the healing trance. As I ‘looked’ inside the warbler, I could see the ragged edges of the bones and tissues. I started healing from the deepest layers and then worked my way out, beginning with the wing bones. I knit them together as best I could, trying to make the edges smooth. I felt the muscles and other tissues heal, and then finally the skin. After inspecting the warbler for any other wounds or illnesses, I handed it back to Jolee.

“Kavar was right when he said you had a gift for healing. It takes some masters and most Jedi a lot longer to accomplish the same type of healing, but it took you only a few seconds,” he commented, as he looked the bird over carefully, “you did a good job finding all the injuries and caring for them. I’d smooth the bone just a little more to optimize his flight.” He closed his eyes for a moment, and I sensed the bone edges smooth out even more.

“That was fast,” I commented.

“I’ve had a lot of practice over the years. Too much practice, I’d say,” he retorted.

When he was satisfied, I returned the bird to a safe branch and slowly started to wake it up as I backed away.

While returning to Jolee, I saw a shadow start to creep over me, and I suddenly felt the ravenous hunger of a creature. His hunting instincts were active and he had his prey in sight…I turned suddenly and saw the Terrien mountain cat crouch on his powerful legs and launch himself at me. He was a huge cat, probably several hundred pounds—much larger than most of his species. He was easily 12 feet long, and had the sharp claws and rows of 4-inch long needle-like teeth typical of his kind. In less than a heartbeat, the turquoise blade of my lightsaber flashed, lighting up the shadows under the trees. Remembering Jolee’s admonition not to kill, at the last moment I enveloped him in the most powerful stasis field I could create and then jumped to my side with all my might. When I looked back, the cat was frozen in mid-attack, claws extended, mouth wide open for the kill, only inches away from where my head had been just moments before.

Jolee came running as I tried to catch my breath. He grinned, “You got him just in time, I’d say, or I’d be pulling pieces of you out of that stomach of his.” He circled the still-frozen beast and peered into its maw. He touched the tip of one of the teeth. “Still sharp,” he noted, “and this one needs some dental work. Talk about bad breath, whew!” he shook his head in distaste as he finished his inspection.

Before the mountain cat could recover from my stasis field, Jolee stunned the cat into a deep unconsciousness and then called the nature preserve rangers to inform them of what had just happened. “We’ll wait here for you then,” he replied to them and then signed off.

He nodded at me, “they should be here in about 10 minutes or so. We’ll stay here to make sure kitty doesn’t get any ideas about waking up, though he should be down for a good few hours or so.”
We both sat down to wait.

“You know, this reminds me a bit of when I was in the Sith war. I was a Padawan, and another Jedi, Elorri’ani, was assigned with me. The war had just started, and it was my very first mission. Our job was to locate as many temples as possible on the surface of a moon, Yavin IV. Exar Kun had these Dark temples hidden so well in the forest that the only way to find them was through the Force. Once we marked them, the Republic could bomb the sites. Elorri’ani was great at easing by guards and slaves. His skill with stealth was amazing, and sometimes I lost him myself. However, he had the worst luck with the creatures on that moon. Kind of like you and the cat here. I don’t know if he just smelled yummy or what it was, but the animals always seemed to sense he was there and then attack the poor man thinking he was an easy lunch. I don’t know how many times he got attacked there and how many times I had to heal him, but I sure got a lot of practice,” he chuckled, “By the time I was done with that mission, I was able to heal as well as my master.”

He went on, “We managed to sneak by a couple of guards, not that they were that observant, mind you, since they were convinced they couldn’t be found. We were working our way down a narrow hallway of the stone building to set the final locator beacon. We made it to the center of the temple and entered a large room when a Dark Jedi finally spotted us. I knew right away we were going to have trouble—that Dark Jedi virtually oozed Dark side power. If he wasn’t a Sith Lord, he should have been. He sauntered over our way, smugly looked us up and down, and said ‘Today is a good day to die,’ or something equally inane. I’ll never understand why the Sith can’t get more creative with their threats.

"Anyway, he ignited his lightsaber for the battle, and we got into our ready stance. He attacked, and we battled for several minutes, lightsabers flashing furiously. He was powerful, I tell you, and we were having a tough time keeping up. Neither of us could get any advantage. The best we could hope for was to wear him down enough for one of us to slip through his defenses to hit him. Then he started to hit us with Force Lightning. My shield absorbed some of it, but it threw me back and I couldn’t move for a few moments. Elorri’ani did better, and deftly bounced the lightning straight up off his blade. Unfortunately, the lightning bounced off a large hive of Yavin bees high up near the top of the temple. Normally, Yavin bees are innocuous, and I tell you, they make some of the finest honey in the galaxy. We’ll have to pick some up next time we’re out in that sector.

"Well, these bees didn’t take too kindly to having their home fried, and out they flew in a huge angry swarm. Elorri’ani looked up briefly, saw the swarm coming, gave that ‘oh no, not again’ look, but gamely kept fighting. That Sith Jedi was so arrogant he didn’t even bother to glance at what Elorri’ani had just looked at. Elorri’ani and I managed to get a field up around ourselves just in time. The bees flew down and started stinging everything in sight—us, guards, this Dark Jedi, maybe even tried a droid or two. When the rest of the hive fell down from the top of the temple on top of that Sith Jedi, the bees really got unhappy. If we hadn’t been fighting for our lives, it might have been funny—picture an evil Jedi covered with honey and pieces of hive, dancing around trying to get the bees out from under his armor and robes. Suddenly he started choking and wheezing, and collapsed right in front of us. Turns out this mighty Dark Jedi happened to be terribly allergic to bees. He was dead before we could do anything.

"We set the beacon and ran out of there, passing I don’t know how many guards swatting and running away from the bees themselves. The Republic hit that temple dead center a couple hours later, and they gave us both some kind of medal for heroism for ‘maximum utilization of available resources’. I think they should have given the bees a medal while they were at it. Somehow some general noticed this and decided we needed more responsibility in the war—oh, the rangers are here.” He got up and explained the entire story of the Terrien cat to them.

One of the rangers spoke, “This is the cat we’ve been trying to catch for awhile, and he’s eluded us every time. He’s attacked several people, and we needed to get him out of the preserve. We appreciate you notifying us right away. We’re going to transfer him to a zoo so he can’t attack anyone anymore.”

The rangers sedated the cat so that he’d be unconscious for some time, and placed him in a containment field for the transfer.

“Thank you again, Master Jedi,” the ranger said, “you’ve saved others from serious attacks and maybe even death.”

“Padawan Jae here did most of the work. She’s the one who really deserves the thanks.” Jolee replied.

“We’re very grateful, Padawan,” he said, turning to look at me thankfully. I smiled and nodded pleasantly to acknowledge their gratitude. They left in the transport.

“Now where was I again?” Jolee asked.

“You’d just finished the story about the Dark Jedi and the bees, and how a general was going to give you more responsibility,” I answered, helpfully.

“Well, that general’s boring anyway, and I’m hungry. Let’s go back into the city and find a bite to eat. I’ll tell you more later about how I got more involved in the war,” he said, turning onto a path to hike back out of the preserve.

When we returned to our quarters, there was an urgent message waiting for us.

“This should be interesting,” Jolee said as he called up the holovid.

I watched as the figure of Master Vandar appeared on the projector.

“Master Jolee, the Council requests both you and Padawan Jae to return to Coruscant at your earliest convenience. We have a matter of vital importance to discuss with you.” The message was short and Vandar’s figure disappeared from the projector.

“I wonder what that’s all about,” I mused. I could sense the swirl of activity approaching.

Jolee looked at me with a smile and a touch of excitement playing in his eyes. “We’ll find out what it is soon enough, but I suspect we’re not going to have any quiet days for awhile. Gather your gear, we’re leaving immediately.”

We left for Coruscant on the very next transport.

Hallucination
03-05-2006, 03:59 PM
Excellent fic-tacularness, but I noticed a little things that happen to defy Star Wars lore: Yavin 4 is the moon, not the planet. ;)
And go to Korriban and with Jolee and Canderous, they say something funny when you try to entertain the sith.

Keep up the great work!

Diego Varen
03-05-2006, 04:10 PM
This is the best Chapter you have wrote so far. And Hallucination was right about Yavin IV being the moon and not the Planet. I could imagine Jolee's voice through that Chapter. Keep up the good work.

PS. I like your new Avatar.

Jae Onasi
03-05-2006, 04:23 PM
Yeah, I had mixed the moon of Endor thing in with Yavin IV accidentally. I love the edit feature--makes it an easy fix.

I like that new avatar, too. JF66 and I found the image, and he was sweet and cropped/resized/uploaded it while I was working on the fic and MacLeodCorp's mod. :)

Edit: Thanks much, everyone.

JediMaster12
03-06-2006, 02:11 AM
I loved it Jae. The chapter had me thinking of Jolee talking and saying those exact words. This is great I hope you keep posting.

Jae Onasi
03-06-2006, 08:15 PM
^ I don't have as much free time as I'd like to do a ton of writing, sigh. However, Jolee, being 'old, darnit', has plenty more stories to share. ;)

JediMaster12
03-08-2006, 02:09 AM
I understand. I have two papers to write for school and they are making me turn grey. Well at least my brains are turning to mush.

Renegade Puma
03-08-2006, 05:57 AM
Bravo! Bravo! Great job Jae. You did an excellent job on this chapter and have done so on this whole story so far. I am surely going to be voting for your fic as one of the most original at the end of the year. :) Keep up the great work.

Jae Onasi
03-09-2006, 01:12 AM
Bravo! Bravo! Great job Jae. You did an excellent job on this chapter and have done so on this whole story so far. I am surely going to be voting for your fic as one of the most original at the end of the year. :) Keep up the great work.

You all say just the nicest things. I appreciate it. :)
I'm hoping to have another installment sometime this week.

JediMaster12
03-13-2006, 05:43 PM
Waiting patiently though I'm turning into a crotchety hermit like Jolee :lol:

Jae Onasi
03-13-2006, 06:22 PM
Alright folks, here's Chapter 4. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

EDIT: See Jae grinning at JM12's comment above.... :D


Chapter 4: The Lesson on Feeling Surroundings

As we settled into the plush seats of the transport ship to Coruscant, I asked again about Jolee’s experiences with a general after his first mission.

“If I’m going to work yapping my lips for your little project, you have to work feeling the Force on this ship while we travel. A Jedi gets soft sitting around doing nothing,” he ordered, shaking his finger.

I grinned my assent and went to work feeling the ship and her passengers while Jolee told his story.

“Well,” he mused, “our little mission caught the eye of General Motani. She had a keen eye for finding talented people to handle special missions. Why she felt Elorri’ani and I fell into that category after the bees did all the work, I’ll never know. Nevertheless, she arranged for us to be assigned to her command. My master agreed the military experience would be most beneficial, so off I went to a cushy assignment as some general’s pawn, or so I thought until I hit her training center. I felt like I was in boot camp all over again. There’s nothing like an Echana general to really make you feel like a complete idiot in the duelling circle.”

“The Echani are incredible warriors—I can only imagine what it was like sparring one of their generals,” I commented with just a bit of wonder.

“Well, you know how those master chefs can dice up a 3 foot long Manaan tuna in about 45 seconds? Let’s just say I felt like one of those tuna for a very long time. A dead tuna. After our first duel, she declared that I’d be a worthy opponent—for her seven-year-old daughter.”

I couldn’t suppress the chuckle that escaped, picturing a tiny Echani girl besting a Jedi.

“I see I’ll have to put you in your place with some Echani stances at our next sparring practice,” he snorted in mock annoyance. “We’ll see if you can even get one hit in after that.”

I smiled. He would do just that, too, and I’d be healing more than a few bruises after those sessions. While I continued to listen to his story, I concentrated further on the ship and the people around me—a tendril of darkness curled around the edges of my awareness. There was no way to track it because it was too faint, so I decided to be patient and let it reveal itself. Instinctively, though, my hand reached for my lightsaber Whatever the threat was, it wasn’t ready to strike just yet, so I willed myself to relax until the moment arrived and serenely placed my hands back in my lap.

My movement did not escape Jolee’s notice, but he went on as if he saw nothing. “Her weapons skills saved my behind more than a couple times, but the time I remember best was when we infiltrated the hidden base on Ossus.”

“Wasn’t the planet destroyed, though?” I asked.

“This was before that sun went ‘poof!’” Jolee replied, waving his hands out to mimic an explosion. “It wasn’t all that long ago, you know.”

The darkness continued to creep deeper into my consciousness, and slowly its form started to coalesce. It was one or two men, planning something, but I couldn’t yet determine who they were or what the plan was. I discreetly scanned the crowd but could not see anything amiss. I noticed Jolee scanning the group as well, but he made no indication that he found anything.

He went on with his story, but I could sense he was also thinking about the impending problem that we would have to face, “Exar Kun had set up a hidden base on Ossus in an attempt to spy on the Jedi. The Republic found it. Our job was to infiltrate the base, find any information and Force-users that we could, and destroy the base if necessary. Even General Motani was involved in case we could find anything on Exar Kun or Ulic Qel-Droma. We suited up in camouflage, and we were inserted near the outskirts of the base along with Motani’s Elite Forces team members. Motani and I had to take out a couple guards while some other soldiers cracked the code to get inside. We then were supposed to go in, do reconnaissance, download whatever information we could, take out or incapacitate any Sith we could find, and get out as quickly and quietly as we possible.”

“You make it sound like it didn’t go quite as planned,” I interjected. There was a heavy sinister anticipation in the air around us, now. It was definitely two men, somewhere forward of us, planning some kind of attack.

“Shush! Didn’t anyone tell you not to interrrupt your elders? You’re right, it didn’t go as planned. No military plans ever stay the same once they feel the heat of battle. Anyway, Motani and I made it in the base, along with another pair of the Elites. They split off from us to go look for the energy and shield generators, and we went to look for the central control for the computers to see if we could break in and download any intelligence. Motani had seen more than a few battles—you could see it in the way she walked, scanning everything and maintaining a heightened awareness of her entire surroundings. I kept searching out through the Force, and we made a pretty good team that way. I learned a lot about feeling my surroundings just by following her around.
"We found the main computer, cracked the security codes, and while Motani downloaded the information, I kept an eye out for any strangers trying to give us a warm welcoming blaster bolt. Thinking she had a few more minutes, Motani elected to upload a spy program, piggy-backed to one of their mundane systems so no one would be able to find it. One of their Jedi found us and tried to make his way by us in stealth mode, but I caught him at the last moment. I guess he must have had some smarts because he elected to try to escape instead of face a Force user and an Echani general. I know _I_ would have been a little uptight facing an Echani general. Well, Motani wasn’t quite done uploading the program, so I chased after the Jedi. That was my mistake.” Jolee paused and took a sip of his Diluvian water.

“How was that a mistake?” I inquired, “when it was one-on-one odds?”

“It was one-on-one odds, at least until I rounded two corners chasing the guy and ran right into a nice little nest of soldiers. There were about 10 of them and just one of little old me. I powered up my shield, but they had some pretty heavy duty firepower,” Jolee answered.

“That’s not good odds even for a Jedi. What did you do next?”

“I did what any self-respecting new Padawan would do in that situation. I turned and ran! Never go for one-to-ten odds when you can skip back to your buddies and even things up. I figured an Echani general would about cover it in the odds department. I just about flew back to her. I don’t know if she was just done uploading the program or heard me coming with what sounded like a herd of banthas behind me, but she was ready. We teamed up, and swords and blaster bolts started flying. It was like a regular fireworks show! Heh-heh! I managed to make pretty quick work of two of them with what I thought was pretty good lightsaber technique—it only took me a couple strokes to deflect the blaster bolts and close on them, and then a few more swings of my saber finished them off.
"That’s when I noticed that Motani had already gone through five of them without so much as breaking a sweat. She carried an Echani double vibro-sword, and it was a sight to behold. She didn’t fight with that sword, she danced with that sword. Another four soldiers had her surrounded. The blade whirled faster than the eye could follow, and in the next moment she attacked one soldier in front of her, whirled the blade a little and caught the guy behind her, and then rotated it quickly to get the last two. Talk about efficiency of motion. We got out of there fast after that. I would have been a little bit of scorch on the floor if she hadn’t taken out all those fighters,” Jolee concluded.

“So, did the upload program work?” I asked.

“Worked like a charm for the longest time. We got a ton of information on where Exar Kun and Ulic had bases along with their plans for continued conquest. We even programmed in a few fake bases, and then took out their troops when they arrived thinking it was one of our real bases. It was a fabulous deception. Once one of their computer gurus caught on to what had happened, I ran the ‘mother’ program.”

I inquired, “what did the ‘mother’ program do?” with a smile playing across my face.

Jolee answered, “well, it shut down the failsafes and overloaded the reactors. The place went up in one giant lovely fireball, and that was the end of that spy base. Too bad Exar Kun wasn’t conveniently visiting the facility right then. That would have changed the history books for sure. But just as their computers all locked up, the display on every single screen read ‘Your mother is a schutta and your father is bantha poo-doo.”

I could barely keep from guffawing. Only the brewing darkness quelled my mirth.

Jolee sniffed the air faintly, “Yep, I can smell the anticipation and fear, they must be about to attack.”

“I haven’t been able to figure out what they’re going to do, yet.” I stated.

“Most of us can sense things well, but it takes time to get enough of a handle on thoughts to predict their future plans in detail,” Jolee replied, and then added almost silently, “I’m going to head towards the front. Play along, and hopefully we’ll be able to stop this before it starts.”

Jolee dropped into what I called his ‘best old man imitation’, hunched over a little and shuffled into the aisle, following the 2 men up front who had gotten up. They were striding purposefully towards the pilots. Jolee walked right up behind one of the men and asked where the refresher was. I shook my head at his daring. The 2 men were obviously military-trained—they walked with a certain confidence and held their arms away from their bodies as miltary men used to carrying weapons often do. In fact, I thought I detected a small bulge of a weapon under each of their dark jackets. The look on their faces was battle-hardened and not pleasant. Suddenly, I realized they were smugglers or hired assassins, bent on taking over the ship.

I searched the small group of travelers. There were a couple of Twi’lek men, dressed in business outfits and preoccupied with their work. A large family sat nearby, relaxed and chattering happily about the vacation that they were just starting. They were debating vigorously and loudly about whether to go on amusement rides first or swim when they arrived at their destination. A second small family sat away from the others. This family was quiet, nervous. The mother’s eyes darted everywhere in fear, and the father sat tensely upright. The small girl played at their feet with her doll. A couple seats away from them were 2 men in dark suits, but they also must have been military, with their short hair, muscular build, and alert eyes. They sensed the disturbance only moments after Jolee and I did. It occurred to me abruptly that they were guarding the family, and their full attention was now on the thugs that were talking quietly with the pilots. I decided enough time had elapsed so that I could join Jolee up front and hopefully put a stop to what had to be the planned abduction or assassination of the little family.

“Jolee? Jolee? Where did you go?” I asked, making my voice carry through the small transport.

Good, I thought to myself, I now have the attention of both of the family’s guards and one of the thugs up front. I got up and walked towards the front. As I approached, I could see the other thug with a small blaster pistol discreetly pressed against one of the pilot’s heads. The pilot’s hands were frozen above the controls.

“Eh, what was that?” Jolee said, emerging from the refresher and pretending to have not heard me calling.

“I was beginning to wonder if you had wandered somewhere you shouldn’t, Jolee. I wouldn’t want to disturb that nice little family over there,” I said, nodding in the direction of the family and the two guards. Jolee’s eyes showed that he caught my meaning that they were the probable targets.

“I’m going to go say hello to the pilot. We pilots have to do that, you know,” he replied in his best doddering voice, and shuffled over towards the pilots.

The thug who had been watching me slipped his hand under his jacket and sauntered over as Jolee approached.

“You both ought to go sit down,” he said, coolly but with a faint tone of menace in his voice.

Jolee pretended not to notice the undertone. He beamed at the thug, and said cheerfully, “I came to see if one of these fine pilots flew with me in my squadron.” He clapped the thug on his back, startling the man, who obviously expected Jolee to take notice of the hint of the blaster peeping out from under his jacket and obey his order.

The other thug was not so subtle. He looked at Jolee with his dead eyes, and sneered menacingly, “Old man, I think you better listen to my friend before I decide to shoot you. This fine pilot decided he had a hearing problem, and I really don’t like that.” With that, he fired a shot into the pilot, who immediately slumped forward against the controls, throwing us off course wildly.

“Get down!” ordered one of the family’s guards, blaster in hand and targeting the thug who had just killed one of the pilots. Jolee and I ignored him and ignited our lightsabers. We pressed towards the assassins as the guards started shooting at the thugs.

“Deflect those bolts down, Jae, or we’ll be sucking space when the hull gets breached,” Jolee yelled over the noise. “I’m taking ‘Ol Meany here” he said, motioning towards the man who had just killed the pilot. “Call me old man, huh?” he muttered, swinging his lightsaber swiftly into action.

Peering over to the other would-be killer, I sensed a conflict—he didn’t want to hurt that family’s little girl, I realized. I said to him, “You have a choice to do the right thing right now and put the weapon down.”

“Shoot them all!” screamed the other assassin. Shrieks erupted from both families and the Twi’leks, and there was a flurry of activity as they all dove towards the floor trying to escape the imminent danger.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Jolee trying to ease himself in front of the remaining pilot to try to shield him. I took up a position between the killers and the family, hoping to protect them from any stray shots. The family’s guards recognized us as Jedi, but must have been too excited to stop their own attack on the killers. One of the guards fired towards the thug I was challenging, but missed, and the bolt flew towards the remaining pilot. Jolee deftly deflected it down and returned to his standoff with the killer. The other guard fired towards the killer as well. The thug shot at me, but my deflection skills held firm, and the bolt bounced harmlessly down off my saber blade. I made a tight circle with my blade, and suddenly the hand holding the blaster was severed. The thug grabbed his arm as the pain lanced up it. He howled with the agony, eyes screwed shut.

“Hold your fire! We’re handling it!” I yelled over at the guards, who either didn’t hear me in the excitement or chose to ignore me.

Jolee deflected some more blaster bolts they fired in the direction of both their opponents and us. The killer saw Jolee occupied momentarily and looked over at the family. I followed his eyes and saw with horror that he had a bead on the little girl, who had stood up when she heard all the commotion. I could see her large brown eyes wide with fear and her mother trying anxiously to pull her down out of harm’s way. The killer fired. I saw the bolt flying, and willed the speed to intercept it before it could hit the child, almost making it.

My jump provided an opening for the guards, who wasted no time taking advantage of it. They fired, and the thug I had been fighting dropped to the ground, badly wounded. One of the bolts blasted off of his armor and hit the remaining pilot, who collapsed in pain. Jolee neatly deflected a shot from the killer before cleaving him in two. Both parts and the blaster dropped to the ground in a steaming heap.

“Blasters down, now!” Jolee’s voiced boomed through the small ship. With the would-be assassins now laying on the ground, the guards complied and started checking over the families.

Jolee looked over at me on the ground and ran over, with great concern in his eyes. “You’re hurt, lass,” he murmured sympathetically. He found a medpac and applied it.

The medpac helped the pain but only slightly. My leg felt like it was on fire and I grit my teeth, trying to will the pain away so I could enter the healing trance I badly needed. It was incredibly difficult to concentrate with the knifing pain and everyone else’s fear swirling around like a thick fog.

“I think I’ll be OK. I tried to jump and deflect the blaster bolt that nut shot at the little girl. I misjudged a little, and the bolt hit my saber hilt and then bounced off of it into my leg,” I grimaced and continued, “Is the little girl all right?”

“The girl’s just fine, but she’s scared, like everyone else. One pilot’s gone, and the other pilot’s injured, but I should be able to heal him enough so we can finish the flight to Coruscant—we’re almost there. The families look fine, if scared. One of the Twi’leks took some collateral fire but it’s very minor. I took out the killer, and it looks like one of the guards got this other one after you, uh, disarmed him.”

“Geez, Jolee, I can’t believe you just said that. That’s sick.” I groaned and laughed and immediately regretted the action because the pain became agonizing when I moved.

“Someday you’ll be that irreverent. Use your healing skills. The healing trance won’t work as well right now because of your injury, but it should hold you until we get to the planet. I have to go do some healing on the pilot so we can bring this transport in safely,” he got up from his crouch and went up to front of the ship to do just that.

The world faded out as I entered the meditation state for the healing. The bleeding slowed and then stopped, and some of the tissues started to close around the wound, when suddenly I felt the flicker of life in the assassin that I had fought. My concentration broke and I leaned over to examine him. Indeed, he showed faint signs of life.

“Jolee,” I called out, “he’s still alive, but I don’t know if he’ll make it.”

Jolee came quickly with another medpac, the last one, and applied it to him. “I don’t know if he’ll make it either, Jae. I don’t have enough energy to keep the pilot and ship going and heal this one, too. I have to go back up front right now or we won’t be able to land this thing safely,” and he returned quickly to the pilot.

There was the flicker of life, and something else—a faint touch of goodness that still lit his heart and had to be saved. I knew he couldn’t kill the family. I rolled over slightly to his side, biting off a cry of pain so that I didn’t disturb Jolee from his concentration—we would need every bit of his attention if we were going to land safely. The roll dislodged one of the clots in my leg and it started to bleed, but I thought it would be slow enough that I could expend some of my energy to keep him alive as well. I closed my eyes in meditation, and concentrated on keeping the faint light of his life glowing….

Sounds wafted through the darkness. Doors opening. A little girl, crying. Jolee yelling, “we need medics, now!” Dozens of feet running, equipment clattering, many voices suddenly speaking all at once. “Her condition is critical. We need the life support equipment now!” “I don’t know how she did it, but he’s going to make it after all.” I smiled at that last one as the sounds faded to nothingness.

JediMaster12
03-13-2006, 06:56 PM
Wow! What else can I say? My patience paid off. :D

“It was one-on-one odds, at least until I rounded two corners chasing the guy and ran right into a nice little nest of soldiers. There were about 10 of them and just one of little old me. I powered up my shield, but they had some pretty heavy duty firepower,” Jolee answered.
Han Solo anyone?

Good job again Jae. Sounds a bit like Bastilla and Revan with the preserving of life and all. I can't wait to see more.

Hallucination
03-13-2006, 07:20 PM
Very good fic-tasticness, I can't wait to see where it goes. :)

You misspelled 'sneared' and 'shreiks' ;)

Jae Onasi
03-13-2006, 07:38 PM
Very good fic-tasticness, I can't wait to see where it goes. :)

You misspelled 'sneared' and 'shreiks' ;)

Thanks. You have a sharp eye--I proofed it twice and still missed those. :)


The redemption theme/saving people is big in the SW movies--Yoda saving Anakin and Obi-wan when he could have struck down Dooku, Luke saving his father, saving the twins, and so on.

I'm betting Jolee was a bit of a scoundrel in his young days, eh? ;)

Hallucination
03-13-2006, 08:17 PM
You have a sharp eye--I proofed it twice and still missed those. :)
Thank you, that's why I'm a semi-professional editor. :)
I'm betting Jolee was a bit of a scoundrel in his young days, eh? ;)
Not a scoundrel, just a tax collector on the greedy. :)
Again, keep up the freat work.

Diego Varen
03-14-2006, 02:24 AM
Another great Chapter Jae. Jolee sure has some interesting stories.

Renegade Puma
03-14-2006, 04:02 AM
Fantastic job Jae! Superb storytelling mixed with some good descriptive action in this chapter. I can't say enough good things about your Fic. I really laughed out loud at the "Disarmed" comment by Jolee. :) Keep up the great work!

PazaakPrincess
03-15-2006, 08:01 AM
Hey Jae, I think it's a great story so far and very well written you have a very good literary "voice".

I liked the beginning where Vandaar speaks more like Yodo, I could hear that croaky little voice in my head :)

My only real criticism would be from a readability point of view, although your formatting has improved from the beginning. I would just break up the paragraphs more and try and keep dialogue separated as it makes it more effective to the reader. Use more line breaks especially between different speakers. That's it really.

I can't wait to read more!

Jae Onasi
03-15-2006, 07:04 PM
Thanks all!

Yep, the formatting is making me a little nuts--how it looks in Word and how it looks on the forum can be two very different things. The story's very dialog heavy since it's in first person, so I'll have to space just about every line. :xp: :) However, it shouldn't be a problem to go back and edit these to improve it, and I'll try to take care of that tonight. Chapter 5 should be out in a few days, too. It's moving along a little faster than I expected. :D

JediMaster12
03-15-2006, 10:47 PM
I know the feeling I recently posted Ch 3 to Heart of the Guardian. First person is not an easy thing to do because there is this tendency to switch all the way to the third person. Still I like the work you are doing Jae.

PazaakPrincess
03-16-2006, 12:38 PM
Don't be too hard on yourself Jae, it's just really different reading on a computer or actually in a browser to reading word, then it is to say reading a book or a newspaper.

You also don't have to do exactly like everyone else, I for instance tend to use a lot of line breaks and very short paragraphs and try to seperate dialogue out almost completely which isn't really the way a book, for instance, would be formatted necessarily. I do it though because I am trying to make sure the impact of what I want to get across isn't lost to someone skimming with a browser.

Actually posting my fanfics is all new too me anyway so I should probably just shutup :)

Jae Onasi
03-16-2006, 02:15 PM
:) Oh, I didn't see your comments as complaining at all. You're right, the spacing will improve readability, and that's A Good Thing. I was grousing more about not being able to have it format the same in my word processing as it does online--hubby can attest to the fact that I like to be as efficient as possible, so in my ideal world the format would look fabulous in both places with me only having to format it once. I didn't mean to make it sound like I didn't appreciate the constructive criticism, because I did appreciate it. :D

JediMaster12--yep, 1st person is a challenge, and kind of fun to work in. Most of my writing has been for my history major or reports, and those are never 1st person. I've caught myself more than a few times trying to write 'Jolee thought this...' and then having to figure out how to turn that around into 1st person mode. It certainly makes the creative process interesting. :)
Thanks, folks!

Char Ell
03-16-2006, 11:07 PM
I don't know why I took so long to read your fic, Jae Onasi. You're writing some great stuff here!
I was dodging weapon attacks long before someone ever put the first diaper on you.:lol: Friggin' hilarious! A true "Bindoism" if ever there was one!
If we hadn’t been fighting for our lives, it might have been funny—picture an evil Jedi covered with honey and pieces of hive, dancing around trying to get the bees out from under his armor and robes. Suddenly he started choking and wheezing, and collapsed right in front of us. Turns out this mighty Dark Jedi happened to be terribly allergic to bees. He was dead before we could do anything.:rofl: This was some great imagery! Two Jedi and a powerful Dark Jedi fighting each other as they swat at the angry bees dive bombing them. To borrow a word you used, I "guffawed" when I read this passage.

Looking forward to more "Adventures" and thanks for sharing.

Jae Onasi
03-17-2006, 07:18 PM
Hello folks! Chapter 6 may take a bit--I have to do my taxes and write a long report by the end of the month, and that's going to eat up some time. In the meantime, I'm leaving Chapter 5 for you, because I can't stand waiting for the resolution of cliffhangers any more than you all can. :D

Thanks Hai Wan, and I'm glad all of you are enjoying it. When I started writing ch. 3, the bees weren't even a thought. I was musing about Elorri'ani's penchant for attracting wildlife, and I think hubby and I got into a discussion briefly about beesting anaphylactic shock (we're in the med field, yes, that's normal conversation for us. :D ), and all of the sudden I could picture poor Elorri'ani looking up, seeing a swarm of bees, and saying to himself, "Oh, sh--, not _again_!". That image plus the irony of something so small taking down something so powerful was too good to pass up. :)

Here you go!

Chapter 5: Talin Kayl

The darkness completely enveloped me. I drifted weightlessly through it, and saw a light far away. It seemed to beckon to me, warm and inviting. Far away I could hear faint voices through the silence. I couldn’t understand them. They sounded so strange, like murmurs of a river. One voice seemed to carry a little farther, and I strained to hear it.

“Jae, it’s me....” it faded in and out. Confused, I moved towards it. Another voice joined the first, drawing me closer.

“Jae, come to us you must. Not ready are you to merge with the Light.”

I knew those voices, my mentors….

“That’s right, Jae, we’re your friends. We want you back with us. We need you here. Come back to us, please.”

Jolee! My friend, my master. I heard other noises intruding urgently and it irritated me.

“The life signs are still very unstable, but she responded positively to you both. Keep talking to her. It might be our only chance to save her.” I wanted to hear my friends instead.

“Back to us now you must come. Care for you we do. Wish for you to be with us we do.”

Suddenly, a shimmering figure appeared before me. I had never seen him before, yet I felt like I always knew this man who obviously was a Jedi Knight. He was taller, but height was hard to tell in the murkiness. His hair was dark, but his eyes were a piercing blue that lit up his face. There was a strength in his countenance and form that showed even in his spirit self.

“I thought you might be a little lost in all the dark,” he said, gently. His caring spirit radiated out around him.

“The man still lives, doesn’t he? I didn’t feel him joining the light,” I said.

“He lives,” he answered simply.

The news released the burden that weighed on my soul. I felt free again. I asked, “Who are you?”

“I’m Talin Kayl. I’m here to help you find your way back. Take my hand, and I’ll lead you out now.” He warmly stretched out his hand, reaching for me in the shadows.

I looked longingly at the warm light, but knew in my heart that my destiny was not leading me there now. I put my hand in Talin’s. There was controlled power in his hand, yet he did not grip mine to coerce my compliance. He would respect my decision if I let go of his hand, but I held on. Together we walked back to the world we knew.

“Life signs are starting to stabilize, Master Vandar, Master Jolee. Now the kolto will be able to do its work.” I saw Talin’s form start to fade.
“Don’t leave me!” I called to him, fearing that the darkness would overtake me.
Talin smiled. “I’ve been here the whole time. We’ll be near when you awake. Rest, now.”
Finally, I felt a blissful sleep come over me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The noise was not loud, but brought me gradually out of sleep. The kolto was starting to drain from around me out of the tank. I sank down with it, too weak to stand.

Two 3MD droids came to assist. “Your strength will return as the effects of the kolto wear off. It should only be a few more days,” one of them said. I could hardly lift my arms to put on the fresh dry robe they brought, and one of the droids helped with the soft, tan clothing before they carried me over to a nearby bed.

One of the droids inspected my leg where I had been hit while the other droid reviewed some of the monitors on the bed. The extensive wound had completely filled in, and there was fresh skin entirely covering over the wound. Only the pink color of the new skin and the fine lines marking the edges of the injury gave any indication that anything amiss had ever occurred. I slowly moved my leg for 3MD as it requested, feeling the stiffness but no pain. I was amazed that such a simple action could be so exhausting. I laid my head back down on the pillow, my auburn hair still damp from the kolto.

“You did a nice job healing the wound,” I noted, my voice hardly more than a whisper from the weakness. “It doesn’t look like it will even have a scar.”

3MD commented, “Thank you. Your wound has not caused any permanent damage and your leg should recover full function shortly. It is important for you to rest now. You lost a great deal of blood when the damaged large artery re-opened and the wound started to bleed heavily. It will take a few days more for you to recover.”

It finished its examination and pulled a light blanket up over me. My eyes felt heavy, and I gave way to sleep once more.

After some unknown time had passed, I heard the 3MD droid speaking quietly. “She will recover fully, Master Bindo. She is awakening now, if you wish to visit briefly.”

Jolee peeked his head around the door, and seeing I was awake and waving for him to come in, smiled broadly and walked through the door. “You’re up! I didn’t want to disturb you if you were still sleeping.”

“I’ve been sleeping so much, I think I’ve slept half my life away. How long have I been here?” I asked him, trying to sit up a bit. Even that little effort was tiring, frustrating me somewhat.

“About 10 days. Lie back. I’ll pull a chair over so you don’t have to crane your neck up.” He brought over a chair and sat down. “How are you feeling?”

“Better than when I got out of that tank. I’m just very tired, and I still can’t get that awful taste of kolto out of my mouth,” I answered, making a face and swallowing against the dryness. My mouth was still parched, which didn’t help get rid of the taste, either.

Jolee grinned, “Yes, it is rather like having a mouth full of tach fuzz, isn’t it?”

I made a mental note to ask him later about his apparent personal experience with both kolto and tach fuzz.

His demeanor changed and became more serious. “Your injuries were a little more extensive than either of us thought when we were on the ship,” Jolee stated, the concern of the last week and a half crossing his face, though he tried to suppress the feelings quickly.

“The people on the ship—they’re all OK?” I inquired.

Jolee recounted the story to share the details he had learned. “Everyone is fine except for the would-be assassins and that one poor pilot. The Twi’lek recovered nicely; he was only slightly injured. The large family is fine—none of them were hurt at all. The pilot, Inali, came out of the kolto tank about 4 days ago and should be going home tomorrow. I didn’t know if he was even going to make it to Coruscant because of how bad his injuries were, but he has a strong spirit and so he pulled through. He’ll make a good Jedi, actually, if cranky old Vrook can be convinced to take in another older apprentice. He’s strong in the Force.”

I smiled at the thought of Jolee and Vrook verbally sparring over the possibility of taking on an adult apprentice.

He went on, “The two men who tried to seize the ship were merceneries hired to take out the smaller family. Apparently, that family was being transferred to Coruscant on the same charter as us so that they could testify against a particularly vicious Exchange boss on Telos. That boss is bad—practically eats children for breakfast, and with the family’s testimony, the Republic should be able to step in and do something about it finally. The authorities are still trying to figure out how these two assassins managed to slip by all security to board the transport. The man I took out was beyond hope.”


“That explains why the family was so nervous,” I said. “You know, the hunter I was fighting couldn’t kill the girl. He carried the blaster like a seasoned warrior but the good in him wouldn’t allow him to murder a child. I just couldn’t let him die.” I declared, rather emphatically.

“You won’t get any arguments from me on that—I understood what you did, even if some of the other Jedi here don’t necessarily agree—they think you risked yourself unnecessarily.” Seeing the incredulous look on my face, he held up his hand to forestall any arguments. “Never mind them, you did the right thing. I just wish I had the strength to keep you from all this, but if the pilot wasn’t conscious to help me bring in the transport, we would have crashed,” said Jolee, the regret spilling out.

“Jolee, you had to save the pilot and the ship. There was no other choice or we wouldn’t be here having a nice little chat. I didn’t think the injury was this bad, either,” I observed, patting his arm lightly to show I understood.

“The blaster bolt hit one of the large arteries in your leg, but you had healed it enough that it had stopped bleeding when I went over to see how you were. When you turned over to help heal the merc as well, you started bleeding again heavily. You lost a lot of blood before I realized what you had done,” he added, a bit apologetically.

For a moment, I thought his eyes glistened with tears. The sight of a fellow Jedi laying unconscious in a large pool of blood must have been very painful, even for someone who had seen as much of life and death as Jolee.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for, Jolee. You had to save the pilot and the rest of us on the ship. I had to save that man,” I stated, simply.

Jolee swallowed back the lump in his throat and changed the subject, saying, “Well, it’s a good thing you did save him. His name is Miron, by the way. He came out of the kolto about 3 days ago, and he’s here under guard. He was a hired gun for that Exchange boss—Miron’s Republic ex-military from the Mandalorian Wars. Once he realized what the Exchange wanted to do to the little girl and her family, he thought better of it. He’s decided to become a witness against this boss. He knows a lot about the Exchange on Telos that can seal the case for the Republic.”

“Miron’s a marked man whether he testifies or not—I’m glad he’s doing the right thing,” I responded.

“Protected he will be,” said Master Vandar, entering the room and walking over to my bedside, “Testify he will, and from the Exchange, hidden he will be.”

Jolee made a move to vacate his seat for him, and Vandar made a motion with his hand indicating Jolee should stay seated. Behind Master Vandar was the man I had seen in that terrible darkness--Talin Kayl. He was indeed tall, perhaps a good 8 inches above my own height, and I wasn’t a short woman. His dark brown hair was nearly black, and those same piercing blue eyes I had noticed in the nether world studied my own light blue ones. He wore the plain brown robes typical of many Jedi Knights, but it did not hide his muscular form. He stood with an air of confidence, almost superiority. I tried again to sit up to greet both my new visitors. My body betrayed me, and I could barely raise my head up, much less achieve a sitting position.

“You don’t need to get up for us. Your recovery will take longer if you don’t allow yourself time to heal.” Talin said. His voice was carefully controlled, neither too loud nor too soft, and there was an underlying power in his speech. However, I sensed a faint condescension in his manner, and a touch of displeasure about something, though I could not identify it.

“You were the one I met in the darkness. I appreciated your assistance,” I thanked him.

“I wasn't sure if you'd remember after all you've been through, but my name is Talin Kayl. It's a pleasure to meet you finally. I’m honored I was able to help,” he replied formally with a slight bow.

“Quiet you all must be,” Vandar commanded, holding his hand up to silence us all. He placed his hand upon my forehead. His green skin was well wrinkled and slightly rough, but his touch was gentle. He flexed his hand one time to adjust his fingers into a comfortable position on my head, closed his eyes, and began to concentrate. I felt a wave of warmth pass through me, and abruptly, some of my strength returned. He removed his hand, gave a small sigh, and with a little smile, opened his eyes again. “Better you feel, no?” he asked.

“Much better,” I replied, now able to push myself up to a semi-sitting position.

“Good. Here you must stay several more days. When recovered you are, before the Council you and Master Jolee must come.”

Jolee raised his eyebrows in question. Vandar turned to him, saying “Master Jolee, have you join us in meeting the Council wishes. To us come in one hour. Information you will give and receive then. Come, Jedi Talin, and leave Padawan Jae to rest now.” Vandar smiled at me once more, and then he turned and left.

“Hopefully, we will meet again soon under more pleasant circumstances, and certainly less risky,” Talin said smoothly, with a slight smile.

His faint tone of disapproval, though carefully masked, was unmistakable, almost as if he were chiding an apprentice for getting into trouble, and I viewed him curiously. His tone and attitude seemed at odds with the person that I met in that murky other-world. I sensed our next meeting would occur soon.

“Thank you again for your help,” I stated, not having the energy to take offense. Indeed, I was very thankful for his rescue.

“You are welcome,” he replied, leaving the room.

Jolee watched both of them leave. He sat back in his chair and pensively rubbed the beard on his chin. “Well, that was interesting,” he said, finally. I tilted my head a little in question, and nodded for him to continue.

“Talin reminds me a bit of Andor,” he mused.

“The same Andor you told me about whose arrogance caused him to get himself killed and yet alter the political course of an entire sector for centuries to come?” I asked.

“Will wonders never cease!” Jolee exclaimed with a grin, throwing his hands up in the air and waving them around as if he were rejoicing. “A young person who actually takes time to listen to her elders! You make me proud, Jae,” Jolee pretended to wipe tears of joy from his eyes.

Chuckling, I waved a hand, motioning for him to go on.

“Yes, that Andor. Talin has that same supreme sense of self-confidence that Andur had. If he’s not careful, it’ll be his downfall, too. Andor had a way of making you believe that he knew the right path without a shadow of a doubt. I remember one little story,” he said.

I shifted a bit in bed to make sure I had a comfortable position and settled down to listen. No one ever knew how long Jolee’s stories could be.
Jolee pretended to be offended. “I’m hurt! I said it would be a ‘little’ story,” he sniffed, holding up his finger and thumb close together to indicate it was indeed supposed to be very short.

He went on, “Andor and I were apprentices about the same time, and during our lightsaber construction class we both were assigned components and crystals for our lightsabers. Well, Andor dozed off briefly during the instructions—he’d been out a little too late the night before romancing his then-girlfriend Nomi. He woke up in the middle of the lecture, but he didn’t realized he’d missed anything. Well, he missed the most important part, which is how to set the central crystal properly so the blade extends out straight. I knew what steps he had missed while he was inspecting the inside of eyelids, and I tried to tell him how to place the crystal. Andor was true to his personality, though, and set the crystal according to how he felt it should be. Then, rather than having one of the masters double check it to make sure the blade wasn’t going to shoot out sideways and kill him, he decided to ignite it. Well, he got his first lesson on humility that day. Just as I was walking over to him to tell him to hold off on igniting his saber, I suddenly saw the blade come out at a diagonal. Actually, that was pretty good considering he'd missed three-quarters of the instructions. The edge of the blade hit the emitter, and it made the emitter overload. The entire lightsaber just about exploded in his hands. He tossed it away instinctively, and it fell under a window. The sparking set one of the curtains on fire, and suddenly all we could hear were the fire sirens. Then the sprinklers went off and water poured down all over us. Andor had a fantastic head of hair—thick, brown, and wavy, and he liked it arranged just so. However, that beautiful head of hair was no match for the fire suppression systems, and the next thing I saw was Andor running around in frustration in his soaked robes, with his hair just plastered to his head. It was an amazing sight, I’ll tell you.” Jolee chortled.

“It’s a wonder he didn’t get expelled from the order for his pride,” I noted.

“He probably would have, but the masters sensed his destiny swirling around him even then and knew he had to stay. However, he had to do some penance, and ended up cleaning all the apprentice dorms for the next 2 months. His pride calmed down, at least for a little while,” Jolee finished.

“Do you think Talin is in danger of following in his footsteps?” I asked, still amused at the idea of the proud Andor scrubbing floors.

“Like Andor, he has a great destiny,” Jolee declared. “I just hope it doesn’t involve falling into reactors and blowing up ships again.”

Jolee got up from his seat and put the chair away. “I suppose I should go see what the Council has for me now. I’ll come bore you with more history tomorrow.” He stood by the side of the bed and gave me a gentle fatherly squeeze on my shoulder. “I’m glad to see you’re doing better. I was worried for a bit there, and I’ve grown rather fond of you, you know.”

I briefly laid my hand on his to show the fondness was mutual and said, “What do you think the Council is going to say?”

“Hopefully nothing annoyingly effusive about how ‘great it was’ that I’ve ‘changed the course of history on Telos by saving the pilot and delivering the family safely.’ Sometimes they just go overboard when a simple thank you is more than sufficient,” he responded. “Now be a good Padawan and rest,” he gave a little wave as he left the room.

Feeling suddenly very tired, I laid down to sleep off the rest of the kolto effects. The image of the self-satisfied Talin Kayl crossed my thoughts briefly before I dozed off.

Diego Varen
03-18-2006, 03:58 AM
Another great Chapter. I think Jae was in a dream before wasn't he? Great as always.

Renegade Puma
03-18-2006, 12:33 PM
Lol!
1. Jae is a girl. ;)

2. Excellent job Jae. Your writing is so beautiful. It just flows so well and always has a point to it. I could definitely stand to learn a thing or two from you. You really do capture Jolee very well by the way, actually I would say perfectly. This Talin kayl has me interested. I am going to go out on a limb right now and say that he is a Sith in disguise. :) Can't wait for your next chapter!

Char Ell
03-18-2006, 01:54 PM
Chapter 6 may take a bit--I have to do my taxes and write a long report by the end of the month, and that's going to eat up some time. Yeah, taxes. I still got mine to do as well. Ughh. :( But hopefully you and hubby get a nice refund. ;)

I love how you took Jolee's account of Andor with his Force-swirling destiny from KotOR and incorporated it into your story. I'll patiently await the next chapter since you took the time to set expectations that it will be a little while.

Jae Onasi
03-18-2006, 11:06 PM
Thanks folks!
Taxes--does look like we'll get a refund, which is always nice. In the ideal world we'd pay just enough so that we wouldn't have to pay or get a refund (that way, we aren't loaning the gov't our salaries), but getting a refund is always nice just the same.

Yep, Jae's a girl. :)

We'll see where Talin goes in the story, eh? ;)

RenegadeBore, for me, anyway, I think the best way to improve writing is to do it a lot (and I did a ton of writing for my history major :) ) and have fun with it. That's something you're already doing here so you're ahead of the game, too. :D Writing non-fiction doesn't always transfer over to creative writing, but it helps. I still have a lot to learn, too!

Jae Onasi
03-23-2006, 03:02 AM
For your reading and dining pleasure, may I present to you Chapter 6. ;) I really need to actually go get some sleep now. :D


Chapter 6: Mik’oth


“Your wounds have healed fully, but you must not overexert yourself for several more days, Padawan Onasi,” the 3MD droid stated, as I finished dressing--finally--in my own clothes to leave the medical facility.

“I’ll follow your orders, 3MD,” I replied.

“I’ll make sure she follows those orders, too, 3MD,” Jolee said, striding into my room.

The 3MD droid turned to face us both, and said, “I’m relieved to hear that, Master Bindo. Jedi, and Padawans in particular, have a tendency to disregard the advice of medical droids.”

Smiling, I answered, “I promise to behave. I don’t believe I want to see the inside of a kolto tank ever again.”

If a droid could grin, I believe 3MD would have had one on his face right then. Jolee and I left the facility and got into his speeder.

“A little bright for a Jedi, isn’t it?” I ribbed Jolee about the shiny red speeder.

“Since when have I ever been that average Jedi?” grinned Jolee, putting on some sunglasses and starting the speeder.

“Where are we off to today?” I asked.

“We have to be at the Jedi temple in 3 hours to meet with the Council—they have a mission for us. So, I thought we’d go check out the Eloni cantina and see if they finally got a new Bith accordion player,” Jolee smiled widely. He drove through parts of Coruscant that I’d never seen before. Coming from a much less urbanized world myself, the wide varieties of architecture and non-stop activities of vehicles and sentients still fascinated me, even after spending a couple years here as an apprentice.
We arrived shortly at the Eloni cantina.

Jolee smiled, “Just a little warning. Mik’oth is the owner. He’s a Twi’lek, and hopefully he’s here. He is very well connected in certain circles that we might consider rather shady, and his help on certain issues can be invaluable. However, he is a bit, shall we say, on the smarmy side.”

He opened the door and motioned for me to go through. I cocked an eyebrow in question about Mik’oth, but said nothing. The inside of the cantina was a well-lit, colorful place, obviously designed for amusement, and I thought, likely some wild times. The Bith band was already playing some upbeat music suitable for the lunchtime crowd that was beginning to gather. I had the distinct feeling that some of the oddly placed artwork was there on the walls to cover some gouges from blaster bolts. There was even a small slice in one of the pillars, as if a lightsaber had hit it.

“It’s the Lekku-less Wonder!” someone exclaimed loudly towards us.

We both turned towards the sound, Jolee grinning broadly, “why, I thought I recognized the voice of the Tail-headed Tornado! About time you got a new Bith accordion player,” Jolee and the Twi’lek owner of the cantina embraced warmly, smacking each other on the back several times.
“Where are my manners?” Jolee said, “Let me introduce you two. Mik’oth, this is Jae Onasi. Jae, this is my good friend Mik’oth. I’ve pulled Mik’oth’s lekku out of more scrapes than he cares to admit.”

Mik’oth was a bright blue Twi’lek with two long lekku projecting out from his head, wrapping around his neck, and then extending down his back. They moved adroitly in concert with his speech. He dressed in a very expensive dark navy suit and tailored white shirt with a vest dotted in a large number of round, multi-faceted, brightly colored gemstones that glittered with every move he made. Several large-stoned rings adorned his fingers. For all his obvious wealth, however, I sensed a cheerful, if worldly, Twi’lek.

He took my offered hand, shook it warmly and then held onto it gently, looking me up and down, admiringly, “What a lovely creature you’ve brought to me, Jolee. Such gorgeous long auburn hair and striking blue eyes. Her skin is perhaps lighter than some of my patrons’ tastes, but my, such a lithe yet deliciously feminine body! You are a dancer, aren’t you, dear?” Mik’oth beamed at me.

I was not sure whether to blush furiously at his rather frank appraisal or laugh at his over-the-top question. Minding my feelings, I managed to keep the blush to a slight pink on my cheeks while chuckling a bit.

“Oh, stop, now, you old Twi’lek. You’re embarrassing Jae. Go twine your lekku around some other poor girl, she’s my Padawan,” Jolee waved a hand at him in mock offense. Looking over at me, he pronounced, “Now you know why I call him a Tornado. His mouth goes so fast it’s like a whirlwind swirling around you.”

"I'm pleased to meet you," I said with a smile.

“I’m honored to have such a lovely Jedi grace my humble cantina. Occasionally, we let this old coot in, too. Come in, come in, sit down,” Mik’oth motioned to a table with a nice view of the cantina floor and waved for one of the buxom servers. Her clothing, what there was of it, did not leave much to the imagination. “Bring 3 of those new Ryloth beers that we just got in yesterday, my dear,” he said to her. She smiled at us all and immediately left for the drinks.

“I bet you’ve had those in your basement for 10 years and are just trying to pawn them off on us,” Jolee quipped.

“Nothing but the worst for you, my old friend,” Mik’oth retorted happily. “So what brings you to my lowly establishment?”

“I want to find out about the Exchange boss on Telos, Naren Norelden, whose mercs almost took out my Padawan, here. They got through all security with blasters entirely unchallenged to try to assassinate a family that was going to testify against this boss. I’m sure the Republic will take care of him after they get out of their interminable conferences, but I’m concerned he’s going to become more dangerous. We need to get him to justice before he tries to kill more little girls and their families,” and Jolee briefly recounted the events on the ship as the server brought the beers for us to savor.

Mik’oth’s eyes widened as he looked over at me. “Beautiful and courageous, eh? The Jedi really messed up when they stuck you with this bald old fox,” he smirked. Then he appeared to reconsider, “Or, maybe not. You’d be too much of a distraction for a man young enough to care.”

Jolee rolled his eyes and then winked. “I may be old, but I’m not dead, Mik’oth. What are your thoughts on this Naren?”

Still peering at me with obvious pleasure in his eyes, Mik’oth answered seriously, “The Telos boss is bad, but he’s not the worst of the pack. He thinks he’s top kath hound, but he is an upstart looking to expand territory. He is making some of the other bosses very distressed by trying to unite some of the younger hothead bosses against some of the more established but less violent ones. He is extraordinarily charismatic, though, and has attracted an unusual number of followers. This one has done some nasty things to more than just one family or child,” Mik’oth looked at Jolee and leaned towards him to speak more quietly, “his predations are not limited to humans, either. One of my cousins was a victim of his. I won’t be sorry, Jolee, if you were to exact a bit of ‘Jedi Justice,’ as it were,” and he left the implication heavy in the air between us all.

“It would be more appropriate for us to try to rehabilitate him,” I stated seriously.

Mik’oth threw back his head and laughed, “Rehabilitate! Oh, you are witty, too!”

Jolee commented, “Mik’oth, you know we have to try to work these things out, so Jae’s right. We’re not trying to make more work for ourselves, you know.”

“Ah, well, I suppose you’re right,” Mik’oth replied, sighing. “I’ll see what I can dig up from my sources and get back to you. In the meantime, it is my duty to make sure you are properly fed after the slop they gave you in the medical facility. I am bringing some prime Rylothian beef and the best steamed Mon Calamari root vegetables. Jae, you’ll have to ask him about our little escapades in the Ukatis system, where we liberated funds from the rich to give to the poor. What a time we had together. Of course, now I’m a much more respectable man than that.”

Jolee just chortled at that. Mik’oth threw us a backwards glance and grin as he went to tell a server to bring us the meal.

We indulged in this fine treat while Mik’oth floated from table to table, garrulously greeting guests as if they were long lost friends, even if they had been in for breakfast that same day. In the middle of raising another bite to my mouth, I suddenly stopped, fork poised in mid-air. My senses tingled with the danger suddenly entering the cantina.

“I noticed it too,” Jolee murmured, looking around with one hand near his lightsaber.

Apparently, Mik’oth had a preternatural sense for danger as well—he was already behind the bar looking for something, likely a blaster.

“There,” I discreetly pointed out the small group of mercenaries to Jolee.

“Blast it, I was just starting to enjoy my steak!” Jolee groused while pulling his lightsaber off his belt.

At just that moment, one of them threw a grenade, and pure sound energy radiated out from it, nearly deafening me before I could use the Force to shield the sound and blunt the volume. We got up to meet them in battle. The mercs noticed our purposeful movements in the middle of the screams and wild activity of attempted escapes and targeted us. Their look of recognition and subsequent sneers told us that we were the prey.

“Look sharp, Jae. If he’s got one grenade, he likely has more,” Jolee cautioned, “Be ready to do the breath control techniques in case he throws a poison grenade at us so that you don’t breathe anything in.” We had been practicing breath control for a few weeks now, and I was able to let the air in my lungs sustain me for about an hour before I had to start breathing once more.

One of them opened fire with a heavy blaster, and Jolee closed on him, neatly deflecting the blaster bolts aimed at him harmlessly into the ground. I concentrated on one of the other brutes, who was reaching back to throw something, and I realized it was another grenade. I had to cross the ground quickly, and jumped in the air to close the distance rapidly. He tossed the grenade just then. Seeing it in mid-air, I ignited my lightsaber, and brought the aqua blade down to cleave the device in two before it hit the ground. Two pieces of grenade fell quickly and harmlessly to the floor and scattered under some tables.

The jump brought me within striking distance of the would-be grenadier. He pulled out his blaster, and got into a good stance to fire upon me, just as another mercenary turned to train his sights on me also. I swung my blade back up, then out a bit, and whipped it around to cut off the barrel of the blaster just in time before he fired.

Jolee made short work of his opponent, and ran over to assist me. He engaged the closer of the two men, who pulled out a vibroblade and made a well-controlled attack at Jolee. Jolee parried the man’s attack, sparks flashing off the surface of the two blades. He stepped slightly out to the side to take advantage of the opening and attacked, slicing across the mercenary’s middle. His opponent, unable to deflect the blow in time, immediately fell to the ground.

My opponent dropped his useless gun and whipped out a long dagger. It was obvious he was no stranger to knife fighting, and he made several quick slashing motions towards me, trying to find an opening in my defense. I dodged one attack and blocked another, but when he came rushing with the third attack, I sidestepped him and brought the lightsaber blade down on the arm holding the knife. His arm fell to the ground and the knife skittered across the floor. The thug looked at the stump of his arm and collapsed to the floor in obvious agony, and the battle was over.

Mik’oth came over to the one still living, his face purpling with rage, grabbed him up by his shirt, and said, “Why are you doing this? Talk!”

The man sighed, still in considerable pain, but stayed silent.

Jolee stared at his eyes, and gave a subtle wave of his hand, “You feel safe from the Exchange here. You want to talk to us.”

The thug’s eyes glazed over, and he parroted, “I feel safe from the Exchange here. I want to talk to you.”

Jolee said, pleasantly, “I thought you’d feel that way, lad. Now tell us who you are working for.”

The injured man replied, “Naren Norelden.”

Jolee went on, “What does Naren want with us?”

“Revenge for killing one of his top men and saving the family.”

“Why is Naren trying to grab Exchange territory?” Jolee asked.

“He’s trying to build a separate branch of the Exchange for himself, so he can be the top kath hound, but he’s too stupid to see he’s being used.” the man answered.

That made Jolee stop and think a moment, and then he continued, “Who is using him?”

“He’s, ah,” he answered, and then he suddenly collapsed in death throes, and a faint green tint suffused his skin.

“Jae?” Jolee looked at me with a questioning glance to see if there was anything I could do with my healing.

I touched his forehead and stretched out in the Force. He was gone. “I think it was a poison that took him. His injuries didn’t cause his death.”

Mik’oth chimed in, “It’s crystalline anithe. It will activate under certain radio frequencies and cause a rapid death just like this. It’s the green skin tint that gives it away.”

Jolee jogged to the door to see if anyone else was out there. I stretched out to feel the Force at the same time. Neither of us saw or felt anything.

“There may be no one nearby. If they implanted the transmitter along with the poison, they may have activated it remotely,” continued Mik’oth, explaining the rest of the mechanism of the man’s death. I gently closed his blank eyes.

Jolee returned to us, speaking to someone on his comlink, “Yes, we’ll make sure to have the authorities send the bodies to the temple.” He closed up the comlink, and said, “there’s something dark behind all this, and hopefully the autopsies will give us some information and insight.”

The authorities arrived very quickly, and after Jolee gave them some instructions, they shuttled the bodies over to the Jedi temple for further examination.

Mik’oth circulated among the patrons who were not able to leave when the shooting began, making sure everyone was all right.

“We’re supposed to stay for some questions,” Jolee informed me.

“Come with me,” Mik’oth beckoned to us, having finished checking on his patrons. “We’ll sit over in my office.”

He looked at me with a pleasantly critical eye. “I daresay, my dear, that you indeed are still recovering—you’re shaking like a leaf. You may not feel much like eating right now, but I think you do need a little something. I’ll go get a few things and tell the authorities we’re here.”

He made me sit down at a small table in his office overlooking the cantina, and then he disappeared. My stomach roiled a bit from both the attack and my sudden extreme fatigue. We saw him speak briefly with one of the police, and then shortly after that he returned with some steaming dishes.

“Eat, Jae. Start with the soup—it’ll soothe your stomach a bit,” Jolee commanded, ladling some soup into a bowl for me. “I know you don’t feel like eating much right now, but you’re looking a bit pale, and you’ll need the energy, especially since you are still recovering. Our meeting with the Council will be coming up after we leave here, and it’s not going to be brief.”

I lifted a spoonful of soup for a taste. It was savory, with just a hint of warmth from the spices. After several sips of soup, I had recovered sufficiently to enjoy the rest of the meal.

“Since you didn’t get to finish the steaks for which my little cantina is famous, I brought you another,” Mik’oth said, handing me a fresh plate of food. “Jolee, should I regale this charming young Jedi with a tale of our exploits, or should you?”

“Are you kidding? I already missed out on the first steak, I’m taking advantage of the second. You talk, I’ll eat. I’m going to correct your numerous mistaken interpretations, however.” Jolee picked up another bite of steak.

Mik’oth settled down comfortably in the leather chair that he pulled out from behind his desk. “Let’s see, how we got involved in the Ukatis system might make a good yarn.”

“Don’t forget to tell her how we met,” Jolee piped up.

“Hush, eat your food. You show disrespect for my steak by not enjoying it. I’ll get to that part,” Mik’oth retorted. “Now where was I. Oh, yes. I had some close family in the Ukatis system, and when I heard about the interdiction of the system, I knew I needed to act.”

Jolee snorted, “You call a fifth cousin twice removed close family? Come on, you saw a business opportunity.”

Mik’oth sniffed dramatically, “Twi’leks consider all family to be close. I won’t deny that the possibility of a new business outlet was rather attractive. But we digress. The King of the Ukatis system blocked all trade in order to keep an iron control over the population. If the people were starving, they were going to be preoccupied with finding food instead of creating uprisings. My cousin was one of the starving, and I had to help him. We devised a plan to, ah, redistribute the wealth so people wouldn’t die from a lack of food and medical supplies.”

“You robbed from the rich to give to the poor, eh?” I noted, grinning.

Jolee jumped in, “well, if they’d actually been caring people instead of spoiled, selfish aristocrats, they would have gladly given up some of that wealth to help the little babies and children.”

“Yes, they would have. Now let me continue,” Mik’oth wagged a finger at Jolee. “I had accomplished several ‘liberation runs’ when I got detained on the planet by an enforcer.”

“And Mik’oth didn’t know I had arrived discreetly on the planet to reconnoiter the situation for the Jedi,” Jolee interrupted.

Mik’oth ignored the interruption with a smile and went on, “The enforcers are not known for their gentle natures. Their physical ‘ministrations’ could be rather intense. Mine was a typical brute, but showed a little more humor than the average enforcer. He decided to have a little fun at my expense, and he paraded me through the streets before tying me by my lekku to a tree to swing in the breeze. After awhile, I guess my incoherent utterances must have bored him, or he decided he had another victim to beat, and so there I was, left tied to the tree for everyone to view. Of course, no one dared untie me, for fear of angering the enforcers.”

“Except me, because I was too young and brash to concern myself with such consequences,” Jolee added, “I waited til dark, and then climbed up the tree to release him.”

“Do you know what he said to me, after I’d been up there the better part of the day? He said, “Hi, I’m Jolee Bindo. Do you need help or do you just like hanging out?” Mik’oth stated dramatically, rolling his eyes.

“Jolee, you didn’t!” I exclaimed, smiling at how very outrageous his question had been.

“I did. I think he would have clobbered me for that if he’d been able,” Jolee commented, grinning.

“Jolee rescued me, and when he found out what I was doing, he smuggled me aboard his ship and dodged 3 enforcer ships to get me out of the system. He brought me here to Coruscant to speak before the Jedi Council about the situation. Of course, I perhaps neglected to state that we had freed some aristocrats of their excess wealth and brought in some badly needed food to the impoverished lower classes while we were there. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship—Jolee with his expert piloting skills, me with my inside contacts, it was nearly unbeatable,” Mik’oth finished with a slightly nostalgic sigh.

“Looks like the police are ready for us, Jolee,” I observed.

We informed them of what happened with the mercenaries and gleaned information from the forensic investigators. Mik’oth joined us as we prepared to leave the cantina and return to the Jedi temple. He had a small package for me.

“Onderonian willek juice cheesecake. I thought you might want a little taste of home,” he said, and then in an exaggerated whisper, added, “I’ll warn you, though, the chef does not go light on the sauce. One bite might be enough to affect the faculties, you know.”

Jolee shook his head, grinning, “You old schmooze. You’re just trying to get in Jae’s good graces.”

Mik’oth beamed in my direction, “Of course I am. It never hurts to be in the good graces of a Jedi as lovely as your delightful Padawan. Jae, if you ever decide to dump this old man and the Order, you will come and be a dancer here, won’t you, my dear?” He looked at me with such artfully innocent eyes that I could not help but laugh.

“If I ever decide to be a dancer, Mik’oth, you’ll be the first one I contact,” I replied, with a teasing wink.

Jolee could only shake his head in amusement. “Come on, Jae, I need to get you out of here before he piles it on any higher.”

Mik’oth sighed, “Yes, and I do have to get back to the clean-up. Now that the authorities have completed their investigation, I need to make preparations for the evening crowd so that today’s income isn’t a complete disaster. I’ll let you know if I hear anything else going on in the Exchange. And Jae, do please come back and grace my cantina with your charming presence, preferably often. You can come with or without the Lekku-less Wonder, here.” He waved us out.

We got into the speeder, and Jolee eased it into traffic. I commented, “Mik’oth is quite a unique character.”

Jolee would have doubled over laughing at the understatement had he not been driving, “That he is, Jae, that he is.”

“We’re going to have some very interesting information for the Council. I just hope they don’t lecture me about the excess action so soon after my release from the medical facility,” I noted.

“Don’t worry,” Jolee said, putting the sunglasses on once more, “that’s what a master is there for—to keep Padawans out of trouble with the Council.” We drove off towards the Jedi temple for our meeting.

Diego Varen
03-23-2006, 03:12 AM
Is that your longest Chapter ever? Anyway another great Chapter and again I could imagine Jolee's voice in my head. Well done.

JediMaster12
03-23-2006, 04:23 AM
Wow. That's the longest yet. Still follows the standards of Jolee Bindo. Keep it up Jae.

Renegade Puma
03-23-2006, 04:53 AM
Dang that was long. I kept reading, and scrolling down, and reading, and scrolling down, thinking, "is this ever going to end?" None the less, a great job once again Jae. You're really churning out the chapters eh? I really wanted to slap the Twilek dude for his obvious over the top flirting. Well, keep up the great work! Can't wait for the next chapter!

Jae Onasi
03-23-2006, 02:10 PM
Well, the Muse wouldn't let me go this time, I guess, and so out it all came. :) It's not the longest thing I've ever written by far (that was a 28 page seminar paper for a history class). I think most of my chapters have been about 4 pages in Word, and this particular one was about 5 1/2 (so about 40% longer), and I still didn't feel like I gave the Jolee story the attention it really deserved.

RenegadeBore, if you felt like slapping him, then I managed to appropriately put in words the smarmy image I had in my head of him. :D I wanted a way to describe the Padawan Jae character's features without using the 'character looks in a mirror and describes himself' method, so I decided to try something different.

I do appreciate you all taking the time to read it and write your opinions.

Char Ell
03-23-2006, 09:06 PM
Another excellent chapter, Jae, and only 5 days after the last chapter. I thought we would have to wait until the end of the month at least. But hey, I'm in no way complaining here. :D I'm sure there are a lot of other fan fic writers around here that would like to get the services of your muse though, heh-heh-heh. ;)

Jae Onasi
03-23-2006, 10:26 PM
Another excellent chapter, Jae, and only 5 days after the last chapter. I thought we would have to wait until the end of the month at least. But hey, I'm in no way complaining here. :D I'm sure there are a lot of other fan fic writers around here that would like to get the services of your muse though, heh-heh-heh. ;)

:lol:
Actually, the Muse got me because the flu got me, and I couldn't do much else but stay in bed for a couple days. Laptops are so convenient. I was waiting for the rest of my volunteers to report in so I can do my report, which is due in a few days, and we're not quite done with taxes yet (but do get a refund, yay!), so the Muse is on hold for about a week or til we get done with those 2 tasks, (hopefully sooner rather than later.).
Thanks!

JediMaster12
03-24-2006, 01:41 AM
Actually a witch cursed me, WRITER'S BLOCK! :lol:

Jae Onasi
03-24-2006, 10:42 AM
Actually a witch cursed me, WRITER'S BLOCK! :lol:

You can borrow my Muse for the time being. I just need her back when I start writing again. :D

JediMaster12
03-25-2006, 02:53 AM
Actually my familiar found mine, the queen, the goddess, my inspiration :lol:

I look forward to the next chapter Jae.

Jae Onasi
03-29-2006, 12:35 AM
Well, after writing about 10 pages of prose in a report, waiting on some data from one more person to complete that report, and working on some other information to continue doing taxes, I just had to take a little break and think about something entirely different. So, here's Ch. 7. If I weren't so tired from staying up way too late writing it ;) , I'd polish it a bit more, but I'll post it for now until I can get a little more creative. :)


Chapter 7: A Mission

We stood waiting outside the Council chambers for our meeting. Stepping over to peer out the window at the famed Thousand Fountains in the courtyard below, I took a deep breath and straightened the collar on my robe once more.

“That’s about the 20th time you’ve adjusted that robe,” Jolee observed, “you’re not nervous about talking to these masters, are you? You’ve been here before.”

“Yes, actually I am,” I admitted. It was pointless to be dishonest with a Jedi, particularly a Jedi with whom one had a Master-Padawan bond. Such Force bonds allowed those connected to sense each other’s feelings and sometimes even thoughts. Picking at my robe, however, made my apprehension quite obvious to anyone.
Continuing, I said, “These Jedi are the premier of our Order, and I don’t want to make a bad impression. I’m concerned about what they’re going to say about the transport incident, and I admit I’m a little excited to finally be going on a mission.”

“Jae, I have great faith that you will do well, and I’ll handle the transport issue if it comes up, don’t you worry. Remember, every single Master in that room was a Padawan at one time. It’s not like we become Jedi Gods when we reach Master rank, you know. We all put on our robes the same way. It just means we Masters have been in so long we don’t know what else to do but be good Jedi.” He stole a wicked grinning glance my way, “At least you have the option of cantina dancing."

Exasperated, I tossed my datapad playfully across the antechamber towards his head. The datapad stopped in mid-air as Jolee easily levitated it. Suddenly, he pushed it back hard at me, and I was expected to catch it in mid-air. Just as I was about to draw it into my hand, however, it froze, suspended above the ground, and then flew away. Talin Kayl caught it. He walked towards me to return it and stood close enough that with his height I had to look up at his face.

He held it out for me to take, saying with a slight upturn to his lips, “A rather plebian use of your skills, don’t you think?”

Silently, I took back the datapad from his hand. Being chided was not something I was expecting.

Jolee walked over towards us to greet him. “Jedi Talin. How are you? I assume you’re going to the same meeting we are?”

“Master Jolee,” Talin smiled thinly at him and then turned his gaze back to me. “I was just returning your Padawan’s datapad to her and reminding her that our power is a gift to be utilized appropriately.”

“So sure are you that we were engaging in rather useless levitation when in fact we were practicing levity?” Jolee responded coolly with one eyebrow lifted in question. “A good diplomat knows some things are not always as they appear.”

Rebuked, Talin nodded to Jolee. “You are right, Master Jolee. I momentarily forgot this most basic lesson in diplomacy. Please forgive me, Padawan Jae.”

“No offense taken,” I replied.

Talin went on, “I have been called before the Council for this meeting, as you both have.”

The two large ornately carved wooden doors of the Council chambers swung open. I took a deep breath and composed myself.

Winking, Jolee whispered to me, “Jae, don’t forget to play it up for Vrook,”

Arranging the most innocent doe-eyed look on my face that I could muster, I said, “How would it be if I prostrated myself at your feet?”

Jolee just shook his head, “No reverence for elders. What is the galaxy coming to? Come on, let’s go see what task they have for us today.”

The three of us entered, though I followed slightly behind out of respect for Jolee’s rank of Master. Talin followed slightly behind him as well, I noticed. He may have been rather self-righteous, but at least he showed respect for Jolee’s long experience as a Jedi. As we silently approached the small circle of Masters, Talin and I bowed our heads slightly to them. Apparently, some of the Masters were occupied with other assignments, for there were only four in the room today—Masters Vandar, Vrook, Kavar, and Vash.

Master Kavar had a look of pleased relief, and noted, “Jae, I’m very happy that you look so well healed after the transport incident. Your injuries caused great concern.”

“Thank you, Master Kavar. I am feeling much better. I have to give credit to Masters Jolee and Vandar and Jedi Talin for their healing assistance. I don’t believe I’d be standing here without them.”

Talin nodded slightly towards me, acknowledging the thanks.

Master Vrook then added with a slight frown, “Still, it is important for you to take extra care. We do not like to lose any of our Order, and we do not have so many Jedi that we can risk ourselves needlessly.”

Jolee came to my defense. “Vrook! We already talked about this a several days ago. We would have done the same exact thing in that situation. None of us could allow another person to die if we could help it. I find no fault in her actions,” he argued.

Master Vandar held up a hand, staying any further discussion on the matter. “Already have we agreed that correct were Padawan Jae’s actions. No further is there discussion.”

“I would respectfully disagree with the Council that the matter should be closed,” Talin spoke up.

“Oh, know you the Council’s mind so well you can question their decision?” Vandar asked, challenging Talin’s audacity in questioning the Council.

Talin stopped a moment to collect his thoughts in order to express himself appropriately, “I mean no disrespect to the Council and I accept the judgment of this body in matters regarding members of our Order. However, I think Master Vrook brings up an important point. I agree completely with the Council that her decision was entirely appropriate. The execution of that decision is what caused this unfortunate incident.”

Jolee interjected, “My Padawan is my responsibility, Jedi Talin. Any fault in her training is mine.”

Talin answered, “I do not mean to impugn your efforts, Master Jolee. Her skill in healing and her other Force powers have increased exponentially while under your tutelage.”

Much as I disliked being the object of such discussion, I had to admit to myself that Talin did have a gift for diplomacy. He mixed careful language with a considered attempt to forge a path that would connect both Vrook’s and Jolee’s opinions, combined with the certain brashness in just knowing that his path was the correct route through the challenge.

Talin continued, “But while her skills are indeed improving greatly, I believe there needs to be more balance in the development of her Force powers and her fighting skills in order to minimize the risk of future incidents such as this. Training with someone who is a lightsaber specialist could be very beneficial in rounding out her education as a Padawan.”

Master Vandar asked Jolee, “Your thoughts we would seek on this matter.”

Jolee and I both knew Talin was right on that matter. While Jolee fought well with a lightsaber, it was not his area of expertise, and my lightsaber skills were, well, at a Padawan level.

Jolee considered his response, and said with a bit of a smile, “Jedi Talin speaks with a wisdom greater than his years, which is quite refreshing to see in someone that young. However, we would have to be assigned here to Coruscant to get the extra training.”

Master Kavar added, “What are your thoughts, Jae?”

“I have no desire to fault Master Jolee’s training. I have learned a great deal in a very short time. However, after catching the blaster bolt with my thigh instead of my lightsaber, it is obvious that I could use further instruction in lightsaber use. I have absolutely no desire to have such a personal experience with the kolto tank ever again,” I commented. Knowing chuckles could be heard among the Masters. Apparently, they had also had a similar experience with kolto.

Master Vash added, “We appreciate your candid thoughts in this matter, and we had come to a similar conclusion.”

Master Vandar went on, “For this reason are you three here before us. Have need of all your skills we do.”

My heart sped a little in anticipation of my first real mission, though I tried to concentrate on maintaining my calm.

Master Kavar delineated the mission for the three of us in the manner of someone very experienced in doing military briefings. “You must find out what is happening with the Exchange on Telos. We sense there is something greater and darker behind Norelden’s maneuverings, and we need to find that underlying force. We also received a request for a meeting with one of the leaders of the planet Li’adin, which is past Telos in the Outer Rim. Their culture is quite reclusive, and so their request is rather unusual. They have mentioned concerns about time vortices forming near their system and have asked for assistance in determining the source. We need to learn the nature of these phenomena and why they are occurring. We have prepared a detailed report for you and have downloaded it to your datapads.”

In his typical gruff voice, Master Vrook added, “We have sensed a connection in the Force between the formation of these vortices and Norelden’s increased activity. You must find out what is happening and put a stop to his illegal activities before they destabilize Telos and the rest of the sector. We will provide you with a small ship so you may travel discreetly. And we do expect you to take care,” he finished, looking pointedly my way.

“We have decided to assign Talin to you for the duration of the mission, Jolee,” said Master Kavar. “His diplomacy skills can be very helpful with the people of Li’adin, and with his considerable skill with a lightsaber, he will be able to provide some advanced instruction for Jae.”

“And benefit Talin will from the Force skills of Jae and the wisdom of Jolee,” added Master Vandar.

I glanced at Talin. From the touch of surprise in his blue eyes, I could tell that he had not anticipated being included in the mission, but when he glanced my way, he gave a little smile. Apparently, he thought this was a good thing. I just hoped he wouldn’t become an insufferable instructor.

“There’s never such a thing as too much help. I think I can teach this lad a few tricks,” Jolee grinned.

“I am honored at the confidence you place in my skills,” Talin said to the Masters, bowing his head slightly once more. “I will take care to provide an appropriate education and in turn learn what I can.”

“Very well, your transport is ready as soon as you are,” Master Kavar said.

“I’m not leaving until the food stores are full and the food replicator is cleaned out. I can’t stand that simulated stuff.” Jolee said.

“We are aware of your culinary penchant, though why we accommodate it I do not know. Nevertheless, we arranged for the appropriate supplies,” Vrook commented.

“Good. Then we can leave as soon as we gather our personal effects,” Jolee answered.

“May the Force be with you,” Master Vandar intoned.

Diego Varen
03-29-2006, 01:27 AM
Great Chapter. I don't think it needs polishing.

JediMaster12
03-29-2006, 12:28 PM
I could hear Vrook as he was speaking. You have a gift with already established characters in making them as we would be inclined to remember them Jae.
I sense a possible romance coming between Jae and Talin. You can berate me if I'm way off target but something in the dialogue and narration tells me so.
Great chapter Jae. As always, a pleasure to read your work. :)

Jae Onasi
03-29-2006, 12:32 PM
I sense a possible romance coming between Jae and Talin. You can berate me if I'm way off target but something in the dialogue and narration tells me so.


The Force moves in mysterious ways. ;)

Renegade Puma
03-31-2006, 09:55 AM
Great job Jae. Once again your superb writing skills shine through in a new chapter. I still think that Talin is evil. Can't wait to find out if I am right or not. We await your next chapter. :)

Jae Onasi
04-01-2006, 01:00 AM
Well, got my report done and sent out (Jae does a happy dance :D ), and taxes are in the works, so I cheerfully sat down and wrote a little, or a lot, depending on your point of view. So, here's chapter 8 (eight! this is turning out to be a lot longer than I ever anticipated).
So, Renegade Puma, you didn't have too long to wait! :)



Chapter 8: Jolee Becomes an Apprentice

The Accipiter was a fast, sleek ship, and while she was not as big as a freighter, she nonetheless had more than enough room for 3 people and the requisite astromech droid. She was meant to be used more for diplomatic missions, but she had enough armaments that she could defend herself well in a fight. While the accommodations were not extravagant, they still had an understated elegance. The bow of the ship had the cockpit, of course, and a spacious common room for meetings. In the common room, pale aquamarine tinted the interior walls, and the comfortable light tan and ivory furnishings invited long sittings. The galley that sat just off the common room was large enough to seat four comfortably or six if they got cozy. The pantry was nearly filled to overflowing with Jolee’s food stores, though I had no qualms about using the replicator.
Farther back, the two modest crew quarters on one side of the ship were separated by a small refresher. Jolee and Talin decided to share the larger of the two quarters, and I placed my effects in the other room. The other side of the ship boasted a large multipurpose room that could be sectioned off as needed. The hyperdrive compartment and droid docking station filled the stern. R4-T3, our astromech droid, was recharging. The hold underneath the main deck carried the extra supplies, and the retractable gun turrets were located in the lower portion of the wings.

“The Jedi have learned to travel in style,” Jolee commented, looking over the ship after taking her into hyperspace. “This is a lot better than that bucket of bolts they gave me about 30 years back.”

“I suppose they have to have transports that work well for diplomatic missions as well as the less savory escapades,” I replied, following him through the various rooms, “and I can’t blame them for not giving you a shiny new ship if they knew you were hanging out with someone like Mik’oth.”

Talin joined us and informed us, “Comfort can be paramount in diplomacy. Some of the negotiations can take hours, and one could be sitting in the same spot for the entire time. The more comfortable people are, the less likely they are to be overly aggressive, too.”

“Oh, this will do nicely for lightsaber practice,” noted Jolee, looking over the multipurpose room with approval. “You can’t have too much space. Let’s get some shielding up. I’m not too interested in sucking space from a breached hull if one of the lightsabers goes flying.”

We quickly adapted the multipurpose room for practicing lightsaber combat and dressed in clothing appropriate for a long workout—sleeveless shirts, but all of us were wearing shorts instead of the usual pants which Talin claimed didn’t allow proper analysis of stances and foot position.

Jolee sat off in the corner, stating, “I’ll just sit here and referee this time.” He watched with great attention.

“Let’s see what you’ve learned so far,” Talin said, igniting his green lightsaber and holding it tip-down in a casual position.

I got into my ready stance and ignited my saber, the turquoise blade glowing.

“Stay just like that and don’t move,” Talin directed.

He walked over to where I was frozen in place, and gently pushed back one of my shoulders, forcing me off balance. I stepped back to catch myself.

“If your stance was strong, that wouldn’t have happened—you would have maintained your balance. Set your feet wider—shoulder width side-to-side and front-to-back.” His blue eyes caught and held mine, “If your stance is weak in a fight, you’re dead. Simple as that.”

I fixed my stance immediately while he took a few steps back and set himself solidly.

“Ready?” he asked.

Nodding slowly, I raised my shield and brought up my lightsaber.

He lowered his saber from the ready position, looked at me, and lectured, slightly vexed, “You’re unsure and you’re hesitant. This is a powerful weapon and you have to have 100% commitment when using it. Anything less than that and you may as well put that lightsaber away and never use it again, because there’s no such thing as partial commitment to it.”

I leveled my gaze at him, and said coolly and quite resolutely, “I’m very ready,”

Suddenly, the attack was on, far faster than anything Jolee had done. I barely caught the first blow in time and could only instinctively fight off the rest of the raining blows. Talin pressed the battle relentlessly with attack after attack while I fought in a completely defensive mode—I couldn’t find an opening to attack because of his speed. He whirled his blade around towards me while I tried to circle out of the way. He anticipated that move and cut me off, extending the blade out to stop my movement, and then in a flash whipped his blade around to within inches of my face. I deflected that blow just in time, and slid my blade down the length of his, finally seeing what I thought was an opening in his defense. He stepped sideways to dodge the blow and then slid his blade back down mine, right into the center of my chest. I deactivated my shield and saber and bent over to catch my breath, wiping the sweat of my face. While it seemed like a long match, it had only taken a few minutes.

Talin, who hardly appeared to have been working, shut down his lightsaber, and mentioned with a look of disappointment, “We have a very long way to go to make your skills passable. I think we need to start with your forms instead.”

After completing my first form, he began his critique, “You should have stepped out farther here, and blocked lower in move 12. On move 20, your lightsaber should be angled more, yours is not angled enough. Let’s do this one together.”

We practiced that form for the next 45 minutes, until he was satisfied that I had performed all the movements in order, in the correct stance, and with sufficient power to attack or block blows. “Your form should improve with continued practice,” he finally declared. It was the most positive thing he had said the entire practice.

Jolee got up from his spot in the corner. “It looks like this has been a solid practice session. Now, I think it’s time I went and made some dinner. Both of you need to clean up before joining me so I don’t have to smell Geonosian stinkbug scent over the fragrance of my fine sauce. Jae, you can come help me when you’re finished. Talin, just a reminder, Twi’lek moths are more attracted to honey than they are to Devaronian poison.” He went off to prepare the meal.

After silently gathering my things, I headed towards the refresher across the way.

Talin called out, “Jae, hold up a minute.”

I stopped and then turned to face him with a guarded look. “The practice was very thorough, Talin.”

He sighed, “Jolee was right.”

Drily, I commented, “He does have that maddening quality about him, yes,”

Talin chuckled, and then more seriously said, “I fear I was a bit harsh in my criticism,”

There were numerous responses I could have said to that, but then I chose the frank answer, “It was rough.”

“Several of my friends have been seriously injured or killed because they did not give adequate attention to their lightsaber skills. I don’t want any of my students going through similar experiences, and you’ve already had one brush with death,” he commented, “but I’ll try to include some honey, as Jolee puts it, in my instruction.”

“I’d appreciate that,” I said with a small smile, and we both went our separate ways to freshen up for dinner.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The spicy fragrance wafting from the galley encouraged me to rush to dry my hair and dress, and I joined Jolee quickly to help with dinner. He prepared a simple meal but added some exotic touches. Talin followed shortly thereafter and we all sat down for the meal.

“Blue milk?” Talin asked Jolee, arching his eyebrows in question.

“It’s from Tatooine,” Jolee answered. “Makes you grow tall and strong. Well, maybe you shouldn’t have too much. You grow any taller and you’ll be eye-to-eye with Wookiees.”

Talin smiled broadly and began eating. There was some silence as we enjoyed the meal, and after sating our appetites a bit, Talin dabbed at his mouth with his napkin and suggested, “Since we’re going to be traveling together for awhile, I would like to suggest that we get to know each other better.”

“Fine idea, lad,” Jolee agreed. “Let’s start with something easy, like how we all came to the Order. I do like a good story. Talin, since you’re the first to put down the fork, you get to talk first.”

“I’m afraid my story is not terribly interesting,” he replied. “I was born on Alderaan in the House of Kayl. Many in my family are groomed to be ambassadors. We seem to have an uncanny knack for adapting to different cultures and negotiating through difficult situations, probably because many of my family are low-level Force adepts. However, the Jedi found I had an unusually high affinity for the Force, and my family considered it a great honor to send me to become an apprentice in the Order instead of following in my family’s footsteps.”

“Who took you as a Padawan?” I asked.

“Vrook did at first, which is where I learned all my lightsaber skills. He was an unbelievably difficult taskmaster, but I finally mastered his teachings. Once the Council learned I had a talent for and an interest in diplomacy, I was tranferred to Vandar for training in the art of using words instead of a lightsaber, though I still practiced with Vrook a great deal,” Talin answered. “When words fail, a lightsaber is an excellent backup tool. How about you both?”

Jolee, chewing, motioned for me to go next. I took a deep breath as the memories came flooding back and began my tale, “I was living on Onderon and serving in the Queen’s household—never as one of the high level servants, but I enjoyed the work just the same. I developed a talent for healing at an early age, but I never realized that it was the Force at work. All I knew was that when someone was sick or hurting, I had the ability to take away some of the pain and make them feel a little better. Master Kavar discovered that ability.”

Talin, discerning there was more, commented, “There must have been something more that made Master Kavar take notice of your Force skill, and then be so absolutely convinced of it that he was willing to prevail upon the rest of the Council to take in a 22-year-old apprentice.”

A lump rose up in my throat and I swallowed hard against it. I thought that time would erase some of the old wounds, but several images would be with me always. Talin and Jolee both waited patiently as I collected myself.

I found the words, finally. “There was one very bad day. It started out with the Queen walking through Iziz to the Parliament so she could give an address there. I was assigned lady-in-waiting duty, so I was in the entourage. She was talking to Master Kavar, who had arrived from Coruscant for her address. The Queen is a well-loved figure, and not surprisingly, there were crowds along the route. So, we didn’t see the small guerilla group that infiltrated the crowd. We knew about some growing unrest among the Separatists, but never expected such a bold attack in broad daylight with thousands of loyal subjects watching.
"We rounded a corner, and I saw them nearly the same time the Queen’s protection team did.” I stopped and closed my eyes, remembering the overwhelming chaos of sounds of screams and soldiers shouting instructions, the smell of smoke and burning flesh, the sight of blood everywhere, holding Roben’s singed head, one eye swollen shut, in my lap as he struggled to breathe….

When I could continue, I was relieved that at least my voice held steady, even if my hands were not, “I don’t know if it was grenades or something else, but there were 3 or 4 explosions right in front of us. Several more went off down the road. The protection squad literally jumped on the Queen to protect her while the rest of the guards and the police in the crowd took off to capture the attackers. Master Kavar stopped briefly to make sure the Queen was OK and then ran after the attackers with his lightsaber blazing. They captured some but not all of the bombers.
"I saw several of the soldiers lying on the ground, and I ran over to see if there was anything I could do. One was already gone, another was hurt but not badly, and I was able to heal him easily. The last one barely lived. I turned him a little to help his breathing. It was Roben, and he was hurt so bad. I held his head in my lap while trying to concentrate on easing his pain and saving him.
"All I remember next was Kavar kneeling next to me and placing a hand on Roben. He looked at me and said something about needing to leave, it was too dangerous to stay out in the open. I told him Roben would die if I left, and he needed my help. ‘You’ve taken away his pain and done more for him than anyone else could, but his wounds are too severe for him to survive,’ Kavar said. I had to save him; I couldn’t leave him. Kavar picked me up, threw me over his shoulder and ran off to get us away from the blaster fire. I looked back at Roben, and I could see his spirit leave. Maybe I imagined it, but he waved at me and smiled.”

I got up suddenly to take my plate over to the cleaner so they wouldn’t see the tears that threatened to spill out. I thought briefly about how ridiculous it was to try to hide such a thing from two other Jedi. The emotional wave passed, and I turned around to lean against the counter. “Kavar came to me shortly after that, and told me I was strong in the Force, that I needed to train as a Jedi. The Queen encouraged me to go, and since I no longer had anything to keep me there, I decided that the training would do me well, and I had something to contribute to the Jedi. So, here I am.”

“Who was Roben?” Talin asked quietly.

“My fiance,” I replied.

“I’m sorry,” he said, and while I expected a diplomat to immediately say the correct thing in such situations, I sensed it was genuine and not just for show.

“Jolee,” I said after a bit of an awkward pause, “perhaps you should tell Talin how you came to the Jedi. I need a good story right now.” I looked at Talin with a bit of a smile, “If I didn’t know Jolee, I’d never believe it.”

Jolee cleared his throat and sat back comfortably into his ‘story-telling’ mode. “I grew up on Coruscant, and while I wasn’t a bad kid, I did have a knack for finding trouble. I about drove my mother crazy. I loved speeder racing and hated school. Can’t tell you how many times I outran the truency patrol. Of course, a little skill in Force misdirection didn’t hurt in making them miss seeing me. I didn’t know just what that ability was at the time. I just thought I was extraordinarily lucky.”

“There’s no such thing as luck in the Force,” Talin noted with a slightly superior tone.

“Well, I know that now,” Jolee retorted. “Jedi here, remember? Some time when I was around 9 or 10, I noticed a Jedi that would walk the same route to and from the Jedi temple from time to time. He always seemed distracted, so my friends and I decided on a dare to see if we could get that Jedi’s lightsaber.

“It wasn’t one of their brightest plans,” I stated to Talin.

“Shush, you. Whose story is it, anyway? I’ll have you know that some of those friends actually turned into contributing members in society,” Jolee answered back.

“And how many of them spent time in Juvenile Rehab for, um, inappropriate acquisition of items?” I asked innocently.

“Let’s see—Jaren, Isith, Padrin, Alina, yep, that pretty much covers it,” he said, ticking off the names on his fingers. “That’s not the good part, though. We watched that Jedi, figured out his schedule, and made our plans. The five of us pretended to be playing ball and not noticing where we were going, just your typical kids. We ran right into him, bowled him over, I grabbed his lightsaber, and then we ran like the wind. It didn’t take him long to figure out his lightsaber was gone. I kept running, and just when I thought I’d escaped him, I skipped past an alley, and suddenly there he was, right in front of me. I swear he rose up out of the ground or something. He dragged me into the Jedi temple by the scruff of my neck. I would say he was just a tad indignant.”

Talin looked at me and commented, “You’re right. I don’t believe this.”

“But wait. There’s more.” I assured him.

Jolee shook his head and sighed, “No respect for elders, always interrupting them….Where was I again? Oh, yes, dragged into the temple, and before the High Council, no less, for discipline. His eyes just about popped out of his head when Vandar announced that I was strong in the Force and needed to be taken in as an apprentice.”

Talin looked at Jolee with more than a little suspicion, “Wait a minute. Just who was this Jedi?”

“Vrook, of course. I remind him about it every time I feel his pride needs a little pricking,” Jolee applied.

Talin gave Jolee an incredulous look before putting his head in his hands. I thought he was quite upset until I saw his shoulders shaking in mirth. When he could control himself again, he said, “You do realize that I will never be able to view my old master in quite the same way ever again, don't you?”

Jolee could only flash him a wicked smile.

Suddenly, the ship shuddered and an alarm rang through the rooms. Jolee got up calmly, and sighed, “Something’s just knocked us out of hyperspace. So much for my hopes of a good night’s rest. Let’s get to the cockpit and see what little adventure awaits us.”

Char Ell
04-01-2006, 01:58 AM
Such enjoyable reading! You have a wonderful ability to mix the serious with the humorous, Jae Onasi. Your story really has come to life for me and after reading your story thus far I'm not sure I'll be able to look at Jolee the same as I did whenever I play KotOR.

Diego Varen
04-01-2006, 04:28 AM
Such enjoyable reading! You have a wonderful ability to mix the serious with the humorous, Jae Onasi. Your story really has come to life for me and after reading your story thus far I'm not sure I'll be able to look at Jolee the same as I did whenever I play KotOR.

I agree, although do they have school in Star Wars. I mean, you don't see Mission going to school do you? Anyway a good Chapter as always, Renegade Puma will like this when he reads it.

Darth Jester
04-01-2006, 08:03 AM
Well written I decided to wait and see how things progressed before replying
I get the feeling that jolee is hiding something as well but I'm not sure what
anyay keep up the great work I keep expecting jolee to make some of his quips from
KotOR but as its still a work in progress we will see what happens

Jae Onasi
04-01-2006, 11:46 AM
I agree, although do they have school in Star Wars. I mean, you don't see Mission going to school do you? Anyway a good Chapter as always, Renegade Puma will like this when he reads it.

Mission doesn't attend school because she's a street urchin, at least in my little Kotor world view. :p I'm betting she'd skip school too, if she was actually made to go. Not that I recommend that to anyone here of course. :D

@cutmeister--I've viewed him as wise and irreverent all at the same time, letting people learn from experience (unless they choose to ask him for his opinion), all with pithy comments to keep me on my toes.
I'll never be able to view Vrook the same way ever again, either. ;)

Thanks folks!

Sable Phoenix
04-01-2006, 01:52 PM
This is so great. I think you've completely captured Jolee. Wonderful work.

Just a question, where does this take place in relation to KOTOR? Is Jae who I think she is, and if she is, what was she doing as an attendant in the Queen of Onderon's court?

Diego Varen
04-01-2006, 02:29 PM
If you read near the beginning of this Thread, this is set shortly after KOTOR.

Jae Onasi
04-01-2006, 02:55 PM
This is so great. I think you've completely captured Jolee. Wonderful work.

Just a question, where does this take place in relation to KOTOR? Is Jae who I think she is, and if she is, what was she doing as an attendant in the Queen of Onderon's court?

Thanks!

As Pottsie nicely pointed out, it's set shortly after Kotor.

Jae is just Jae. :) Jolee does his best talking in Kotor when he's shepherding along young Jedi and has something to teach, so I thought I'd continue along that line.

Diego Varen
04-01-2006, 04:30 PM
Hey Jae, you should include Jolee telling Jae about his trial after the War with Exar Kun. Just an idea.

Jae Onasi
04-01-2006, 05:12 PM
Hey Jae, you should include Jolee telling Jae about his trial after the War with Exar Kun. Just an idea.

Yep, Nayama was a big part of Jolee's life and the trial was a pivotal point in Jolee's Jedi career, so those will be included.

JediMaster12
04-03-2006, 01:10 AM
Great chapter as usual Jae. As always I can hear Jolee when he tells his tales or just gets into his own crotchety self. Methinks something is blooming with Talin and Jae but I sense the Force works as it wills. :D

Renegade Puma
04-04-2006, 09:05 AM
Pottsie said that I would like this when I read it.. well I don't!

I love it!

Seriously Jae. I think I would give up writing my own fic if it meant that I could just read a never ending story written by you. The way you intertwine action, emotion, humor, descriptions, everything! It's just amazing. While I can see that Talin and um.. "you" might have something going, I still hold to the fact that he is evil. I think somewhere in this story he is going to turn to the DS because of his overconfidence in his own skills. Can't wait for the next chap!

Jae Onasi
04-04-2006, 12:42 PM
Pottsie said that I would like this when I read it.. well I don't!

I love it!

:D

Seriously Jae. I think I would give up writing my own fic if it meant that I could just read a never ending story written by you.

Noooooo! Don't stop writing! I've got more chapters for the story but you just have to keep going with yours! :)

I still hold to the fact that he is evil. I think somewhere in this story he is going to turn to the DS because of his overconfidence in his own skills. Can't wait for the next chap!

Redemption is a recurring theme in the SW universe.
I'm working on the next ch. and hope to have it up in a day or two more. It has some more action for us adrenaline junkies. ;)

Jae Onasi
04-05-2006, 07:07 PM
Chapter 9: A New Threat

The swirling tube of light that was the visual manifestation of hyperspace had resolved back into individual stars by the time we arrived at the cockpit. R4 was already linked to the navicomputer to triangulate our location. We didn’t need to see the translation to know we were in the middle of nowhere, but R4 finally determined we’d come out of hyperspace several sectors shy of Li’adin. Far below us off the starboard bow was a freighter, being harried by about 8 small fighters that had scattered themselves all around the ship, shooting at her.

“Sith fighters, and they don’t see us yet. I’m going to position us between the sun and those fighters and dive in fast, but that’s the only time they won’t see us,” Jolee pointed out, “you two get to the gun stations and strap in. This is going to get bumpy fast.” He patted the control console, “Ok, baby, let’s see what you’ve got.”

The Accipiter turned smoothly and accelerated quickly under Jolee’s skillful hands.

“All right boys and girls, here we go,” he called out with excitement in his voice. He seemed almost to be enjoying this.

I was pressed back in my seat as our speed abruptly increased again, and I watched the monitor carefully so I could shoot as soon as I acquired a target. The Accipiter spun down towards the targets, and suddenly Talin and I both had acquired our targets and were busy shooting at them. Talin got the first one, I hit the next two. He fired again, and a fourth fighter exploded in a ball of fire. Two fighters of the remaining group disengaged from the freighter to take us on as the greater threat. They started shooting, and our ship rocked a couple times with the concussions.

“Talin, make sure those shields stay up or this is going to be a really short fight,” Jolee called out. He flew tightly under the freighter and brought us up on the other side, turning over.

I fired and missed my third, but Talin caught him just before he could fire on us again. We flew right through his still-glowing dust. The rest of the fighters turned to meet us in battle, and suddenly we had a fighter coming in from above and below us, with the last one firing on our stern. The ship vibrated as another bolt hit us, and a warning signal beeped loudly. Talin’s hands flew over the controls for the shields.

“R4, check that shield generator in the stern, I think we’ve got a loose connector,” Talin ordered.

R4 quickly rolled aft to find and fix the problem.

“Let’s hope that’s the only problem we’ve got. Hold on!” Jolee yelled out.

I lurched forward hard in my seat as he hit full reverse and the Accipiter immediately decelerated. Now I was very grateful for the restrictive straps, but discarded that thought quickly to concentrate on the small ships we were battling. The fighter that was behind us suddenly zoomed past us, and I tracked him all the way. As soon as he was in my crosshairs, I fired, and that fighter was suddenly nothing more than an orange fireball.

“Nice shot, Jae. Let’s get the rest of these fighters quickly,” Jolee said with excitement.

The two remaining fighters nearly collided with each other and peeled away at the last moment, but both flew into Talin’s sights, and with a couple more shots, the fighters were gone in glowing balls of fire.

I let out a yelp of triumph; Talin smiled. Jolee grinned back at us, eyes bright with the success. Then he turned back to contact the ailing freighter.

“Accipiter hailing freighter 2278, come in freighter,” Jolee transmitted. There was only silence from the heavily damaged ship. There were a couple holes near the cargo section and several electrical lines sparked wildly in various spots around the ship.

Jolee called again unsuccessfully. “We’re going to have to board the freighter to see if anyone needs help,” he decided. “Those Sith fighters are like Dagoban mudsuckers. One all by itself isn’t going to do much damage, but you get a bunch of them and they can just suck the life right out of you. Jae, go to the emergency hatch and prepare to link it with their hatch. Let’s just pray it’s not damaged. Talin, come be an extra pair of eyes for me here. I don’t relish the idea of bouncing our wing off of their ship if something suddenly gives way.”

Not that Jolee needed the help—he finessed the Accipiter against the freighter, and after several more minutes, I was able to dock our ship to theirs with the emergency connector. The indicator signaled that the other side of their hatch was pressurized, and so I prepared to open both.

“Stop!” Talin called out. “What are you doing?”

Holding my hand above the control, I said, “I was about to open the hatch.”

“You’re assuming there’s nothing dangerous on the other side. Are you prepared if we’re not welcome? If you’re not, that would be a fundamental error,” he stated, rather severely, holding up his lightsaber.

Silently, I pulled my lightsaber from my belt, feeling both foolish and rebuked at the same time over such a simple mistake.

Jolee came back to the hatch area, but out of direct line of sight of the hatchdoors and pulled out his lightsaber as well. He didn’t miss the stern look that Talin gave me, but ignored it to deal with the more pressing issue of preparing for whatever was on the other ship.

He gave an order to R4-T3, “Guard the hatchway while we’re gone. Don’t fire on anyone unless they fire on us, we give the signal, or they try to board our ship.” R4 beeped his understanding and waited for us to go through.

He motioned for me to open the emergency hatch, and there was a hiss as the pressure between the two ships equalized. We could hear warning sirens as their door swung open. There was an acrid smell of burned plastic and smoldering wire insulation permeating the ship. I stepped through the link onto the other ship and moved to the side to make room for the other two, lightsaber raised but not ignited. The ship was lit only with the emergency lights, so it was dim on the vessel. Only a sparking wire here and there added some flickering light and the irregular buzz of shorting electricity. Other than the emergency signal, there was no sound of life anywhere on the ship. I stretched out with the Force for any lifesigns and found only one faint one near the cockpit of the ship.

Talin followed onto the ship behind me, and said in low tones, “Watch yourself, there’s death on the ship,” and he scanned the area carefully, alert for anything unusual, and then stepped in front of me to take point and move cautiously towards the stern.

Jolee brought up the rear and looked over the ship, “Hmm, bad karma on this ship. Feels strange, too. Reminds me of some of the sensations I got about 50 years back during the Exar Kun war, but I can’t place it. Let’s find that one person and see what the problem is.”

We moved forward, carefully watching for any signs of danger, and other than a broken wire whipping around wildly, we encountered nothing unusual.

When we got to the cockpit, both Talin and I stopped short in horror. Talin, being a diplomat and therefore not experienced in medical issues, could be expected to have that kind of reaction. Being a healer, though, I thought I had become immune to most of the kinds of pain and suffering that a being could experience, but I had never seen anything like this before.

Two people lay on the ground, twisted strangely in what must have been an agonizing death, and one more still lived, barely, leaning back in the pilot’s chair. All three were completely covered in blisters, the skin bleeding in the numerous places where it was raw. I went over to the pilot, whose breathing was frothy and labored. His lungs were badly damaged by whatever this terrible affliction was. I tried to touch him gently, but even a feather touch must have been painful, because he moaned aloud. I entered the healing trance but knew there was not much time left. Still, if we could get even a few moments to talk to him….

He woke up finally, and I concentrated on mitigating his pain as much as possible.

He looked at me and gave a slight smile, cracking the skin by his lips, “Thank you,” he said in a barely audible voice.

I smiled kindly at him.

He turned his eyes, nearly swollen shut, towards his comrades. “Friends?” he questioned through the harsh breathing, wanting to find out how they were.

“They’re in no pain now,” I murmured sympathetically.

He sighed his relief.

Jolee, recognizing the man’s impending death, went directly to the point. “Who was chasing you? Who did this to you? What happened?”

The pilot turned his head shakily towards Jolee. “We escaped…a Sith,” and he paused frequently for rasping breaths, “He…wants to change…time. Wants help…from Kun….We found…this,” and he weakly held out what appeared to be an old holocron.

I took it from him to examine later.

The man continued haltingly, “Sith…did this” and he waved feebly towards his face, indicating the affliction, “but…he couldn’t…stop us. We jumped…hyperspace. And now…we’re…finally free.” He shut his eyes, and I felt his spirit leave to join the Force.

Closing my eyes, I used the Force to investigate this terrible disease. It was not caused by any chemical, pathogen, or natural phenomenon. They had been affected through the Force by something horrendous.

“Jolee, I think this is a Force attack, not an actual disease. I’ve never seen anything this awful” I commented, disquieted.

Jolee nodded agreement, “I think it’s a very unusual Force power, too, but I’d like to have a master healer confirm it to make sure we aren’t contaminated with something ourselves. I wouldn’t relish bringing something like this anywhere else. You two check out the ship, and I’ll go back to ours—I don’t want something funny happening while all three of us are on a derelict ship.”

Talin and I searched the parts of the ship that were still pressurized and thus accessible while Jolee went back to the Accipiter to ensure security there and to contact the Jedi temple. We found nothing more of importance, but we downloaded the flight and navicomputer data for R4 to evaluate.

“That’s it,” I said, as the datapad beeped that the download was completed.

“Let’s get back to our ship. I find this place most disconcerting,” Talin commented, scanning the freighter for anything else unusual.

When we returned to Jolee, we found him speaking with the holo of one of the healing Masters. Master Vandar stood next to him.

“Here’s Jae, Master Supat. She should be able to give you more details,” Jolee stated.

Stepping into the range of the holo link, I bowed slightly to the masters.

“Please describe the condition for me,” Master Supat asked in a slow and deep voice typical of most Ithorians.

“It looked almost like a skin blistering agent that completely covered him, but it affected his lungs as well—they were filled with fluid. His skin was cracked oddly in between blisters. The slightest touch created tremendous pain, and I found it very difficult to turn off his pain centers for some reason,” I reported. Those images would be burned into my memory forever.

Master Supat steepled his fingers and tapped them gently against his lips in thought. “There were three of them? All in relatively similar condition?”

“Yes, two were laying on the ground, and the third man was in the pilot’s seat.”

“Describe the body positions,” he told me, his brown eyes intent with thought.

“The two on the ground were lying in awkward twisted positions. The pilot’s positioning was upright—he was trying hard to breathe, but he still was bent over to the side a little.”

“I will know for sure when the freighter is towed back to a secure place and I can do a thorough investigation personally, but it appears this is indeed a rare Force technique, Force Scourge. I have not seen this technique used in a long time. It is extremely difficult to defend oneself against this technique, but it can be done. I will research the appropriate meditation and defense techniques and transmit them to you, since I believe you may have need of such information in connection with your current mission,” Master Supat opined, gravely.

Master Vandar added, shaking his head back and forth, clearly not happy with this turn of events, “Mmm, not good is this news. Powerful technique is this Scourge, and few are there strong enough to use it. Employ it only a Sith Lord can.”

Master Supat instructed, “you must stay where you are in quarantine until we can confirm that this is not a communicable disease. I wish to be 100% sure that it is a Force attack and not something else. It should only take a few days.”

“More information do we have about the merceneries,” added Vandar. “Confirm did we that from Telos Exchange they came, and die from crystalline anithe one mercenery did. Connected to Norelden are they, but work directly for Antin Thorn they did.”

“Mik’oth may have more information on Thorn. I can contact him if you wish,” Jolee suggested.

“Yes, information he may have for us,” Vandar agreed. “Contact you we will as soon as we know more on this new attack.”

“We’ll investigate the area without breaking quarantine to see if we can find out anything about the freighter and why it was here. We’ll await your instructions,” and then Jolee signed off from the transmission.

R4-T3 rolled by on the way to do some maintenance tasks.

“R4, come here, please. I have some data for you to analyze,” I stated. He rolled over to me, and I placed the datacard into the appropriate slot. He issued a series of beeps in response, letting me know it would take time to do the analysis.

“I understand. There’s no rush. We’re staying put in this area for a couple days,” I replied.

Sitting down on a couch, I turned over the holocron in my hand, inspecting all its sides, noting all the unusual markings. It glowed and was faintly warm. “What do you make of this?” I inquired, handing the holocron to Jolee, who had joined me in the common area to relax after all the stress of the latest events.

Talin sat down in one of the chairs opposite my seat.

Jolee looked at the holocron with a critical eye, turning around. Suddenly, he looked up at both Talin and me with great surprise.

“What is it?” I asked him.

“Well, the obvious answer is a Jedi holocron, but you’re smart enough to figure that one out already. The question you’re really asking is ‘why does Jolee look like he just got stunned by an electric eel.’ I’m surprised because I realized I recognized this holocron. The only problem is this holocron was supposedly lost when Ossus was destroyed,” Jolee concluded. "It's not even supposed to exist anymore."

Char Ell
04-05-2006, 10:11 PM
Ah! The intrigue builds!

Don't these guys ever watch the movies? When boarding another space ship the boarder should never leave the way back to their ship unguarded. Oh well, it doesn't appear that anybody besides the three crew members were aboard so they're probably OK. Or maybe not... :D

Jae Onasi
04-05-2006, 10:49 PM
Uh, it was a _small_ freighter and they could see everything, yeah, yeah, or maybe R4 stayed by the door, that's it, but I'm just sure it's not the fact that the author is really clueless on safety techniques when boarding a potentially hostile ship and so didn't write in the proper naval procedures.... :D
Thanks for pointing it out in such a creative way. My hubby's Army, not Navy, and so I'm more familiar with ground fighting than air/sea, and if I don't know I can always ask him.

Char Ell
04-06-2006, 01:34 AM
I'm just paranoid like that. :p

I liked how you had Talin and Jae at the ready in front but held Jolee back out of the line of any potential blaster fire or explosion. After Jolee felt a "disturbance" of some sort, dropping the dreaded name of Exar Kun no less, I couldn't help but notice that nobody hung back to guard the entrance to their ship. I'm thinking, "What if this powerful Sith Lord is cloaked and then sneaks aboard their ship while they're poking around the derelict freighter? Not good!" Only you know where the story is truly going here but I can't help it if my brain is working overtime considering all the possibilities... :giveup:

JediMaster12
04-06-2006, 02:08 AM
The intrigue, the suspense, the drama!
That was a brillant plot twist with the holocron. I didn't think that Jolee got surprised. I know he was flabbergasted when the Star Map computer said match found. Still nice flow. In my opinion, I would have written more eeire descriptions of the ship and its condition. Even hints as to the flickering of lights would add to the adrenaline rush. That's just me. Still, a good chapter to a great story :D

Diego Varen
04-06-2006, 02:23 AM
A new Sith Lord is rising? I can't wait to find out who. If any. A good Chapter as always.

Renegade Puma
04-06-2006, 06:32 AM
Wow Jae! Just wow! I think you have moved in to a three way tie for the best writer here on LF. At least in my mind :) It would be you, Forcefight and JasraLantill all tied for the top spot. Seriously, this chapter just blew me away. I can't wait for your next update!

P.S.
If you kill Jolee in this story I will hate you forever. :fight1:

Jae Onasi
04-06-2006, 01:34 PM
Thanks, folks. I'm going to alter the chapter a bit to incorporate the suggestions, because they're good.

EDIT: Added a few lines for 'color'.

@cutmeister--you would not believe how challenging it is to find anything detailed on ship-boarding techniques online. SEALS, pirates, Coast Guard, Marines, all use the techniques but apparently don't wish to reveal their secrets and specific procedures on the internet. Can't imagine why. :)
@JM--you're right, the description was a bit lacking and could use fleshing out. I got sidetracked with the plot stuff. :D
@Pottsie--gotta have a good Sith Lord to go do battle with.
@RP--I'm just happy you all are having as much fun reading as I am writing. And don't worry--I'd hate _me_ forever if Jolee got killed. ;)

Jae Onasi
04-07-2006, 08:45 PM
Chapter 10: The Vision

The mist swirled around and then suddenly cleared as the tall Sith Lord strided into view, red lightsaber flaring in the dark and casting an angry glow on his sneering face. His black cape billowed and disappeared into the darkness surrounding him. My lightsaber seemed to ignite of its own accord.

Jolee and Talin stepped out of the gloom to join me. We attacked him, but it was like the slow speed when one is underwater. The Sith Lord struck down Jolee as if he was nothing more than a gnat to swat, and then attacked Talin through the Force. Talin writhed in the agony, falling over and twisting on the ground, horrible blisters breaking out all over his skin, howling in pain. The Sith Lord threw back his head, laughing at our pitiful attempts at attacking him. He stared at me with glowing amber eyes, wolf eyes, predator eyes.

“Join me,” he demanded.

My heart pounded in fear, but I remembered the Jedi code, calming my emotions. I managed to gather my courage, and say to him simply, “No.”

“Then you will all die!” He started cackling once more, and struck all of us with his Force Scourge power. Suddenly there was unendurable pain tearing through our bodies, and we screamed out our agony.

A different noise broke through the relentless waves of anquish.

“Jae, wake up!”

That made no sense, and the Sith Lord was still there, jeering our feeble attempts to escape his awful hatred.

“Come on, Jae, it’s just a dream!”

But it wasn’t a dream. I could see the Sith Lord striking viciously back and forth at Talin and Jolee with his blood-red saber. I tried to block his blows with my lightsaber.

“Good heavens, she’s strong. Talin, hold her arm down so she doesn’t keep whacking me in the head!”

“Believe me, I’m trying!”

I had to fight, to save my friends.

“Blast it, you slip her a strength stim in her drink? I think I’m going to have to break out a medpak and give her something to stop this—ow! When did you start teaching her unarmed combat? That was one nasty kick!”

“Let me try something else…JAE, WAKE UP!” Talin yelled loudly inside my mind.

I sat up in bed abruptly with a gasp, suddenly wide-awake with my heart pounding and sweat drenching my nightclothes. I wiped at my eyes with a trembling hand. As the fog of the nightmare faded, it slowly dawned on me that Talin was tightly clasping my other arm while Jolee had a lock on my ankles, restraining my legs.

“Glad you’re back here with us on the ship,” Jolee commented with a bit of a smile, sitting up and releasing my legs. The concern in his eyes slowly faded in relief. “I was beginning to worry that something more than a nightmare was going on.”

Talin eased his grip on my arm and asked, “Are you all right now?”

Slowly, I nodded my head, “I’ll be fine as soon as I wake up all the way and get those horrible images out of my head.” I gave one last shudder over the nightmarish pictures that still flooded my mind.

Jolee looked over at the chronometer on the wall. “I’m going to go make some coffee. It’s early yet, but I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep after that. You have a mean kick, Jae.” He pointed to his upper arm, which had an ugly bruise purpling up.

“Oh, I am so sorry, Jolee. I didn’t mean…” I started to say in dismay.

Jolee cut me off with a wave of the hand. “Of course you didn’t mean it. Wildly thrashing about in a nightmare is not something most of us volunteer for, you know. Is it something you can talk about? You'll probably feel better if you get it out of your system,” he said.

“I need to wake up more, first, and get my addled brain back together. I’ll join you after I get cleaned up,” I replied. My soaked nightclothes were starting to feel clammy, and I found the the scent of fear permeating the room rather unpleasant.

He left the room to go make the coffee.

“I didn’t hit you, too, did I?” I asked Talin.

“You started to, but I caught your arm before you could land a serious blow,” Talin replied with a small smile, standing up, “We’ll have to work on proper punching techniques in one of our sparring sessions. Now I will leave you to change. I imagine you will find yourself much more comfortable once you have on dry clothes.”

Some time in the refresher and a dry robe did much to improve my mood, though the disturbing images still played at the edge of consciousness. The smell of coffee drifted to my room, and I decided some caffeine would be most welcome. In the galley, I poured myself a cup.

“Refill?” I asked Jolee and Talin, holding up the pot. Jolee held up his mug for more; Talin declined, still having a relatively full cup. Then I joined them at the table.

They both looked at me expectantly.

Taking a calming breath, I described the dream, leaving out the more graphic details. “A Sith Lord attacked us all. He was tall and dark-haired but I couldn’t see the color well, and he had these garish yellow eyes. It was dark and hazy so I wasn’t able to see much of his other facial features. He struck you down, Jolee, and used Force Scourge on Talin. It was not pleasant.” I stopped briefly at the disturbing images, but gathered my thoughts quickly to go on. “He wanted me to join him, and when I told him no, he attacked all of us through the Force. Somehow, I managed to strike back. He was winning the battle, I’m afraid,”

“Well, if your response was any indication, you were giving him one hell of a fight,” Jolee commented, wryly. “Still, I think this is something we need to meditate on once we finish the morning sparring session. It could be a vision of the future. Of course, it could just as easily be nothing more than a bad dream. Indigestion can do that sometimes, you know.”

A chime in the common room indicated an incoming call. Jolee got up from the table. “I put in a call to Mik’oth to check on Antin Thorn. I bet that’s him now.”

I grabbed my cup of coffee and followed Jolee. Talin joined us in the common room to hear the call. I was about to warn Talin about Mik’oth, but then decided with a smile to myself that he should have an unadulterated experience with this unique Twi’lek.

“Ah, you Lekku-less Wonder! How are you today, my good friend?” Mik’oth exclaimed joyfully. His garb today was no less colorful than the other day when we met him, and today it featured a bright red and yellow vertically-striped vest, a heavy necklace, and large rings with stones that matched the vest.

“Same as always, Tail-Headed Tornado!”

“Ah, that means you’re in trouble yet again,” Mik’oth quipped.

Talin was able to control his emotions enough that his face held a bland appearance, but I could see in his eyes the incredulous look mixed with humor.

Jolee chuckled. “Mik’oth, let me introduce Talin Kayl. He’s joined my little party.”

Talin gave a small formal bow. “It is a pleasure to meet you,” he stated.

“Good! Someone with proper decorum. Maybe your manners will rub off on the Wonder here. I’m Mik’oth, proprietor of the Eloni Cantina. Jolee and I go back quite a ways, except Jolee goes back farther.”

Talin couldn’t help but smile this time.

“Ah, and my favorite lovely Padawan! Come closer so I can admire your beauty more, my dear!”

Grinning and blushing all at the same time, I stepped a little closer. “Flattery will go a long way, Mik’oth, but Jolee’s convinced me to remain a Jedi.”

He shook a finger at me, and replied, “I still hold out hope that you will come and dance. I have the perfect costume in mind for you,”

“I have no doubt I would be stunned at the amount of exposure I would receive,” I noted, dryly.

Talin stifled his laughter enough that it came out as a cough. Jolee merely grinned.

Mik’oth feigned a hurt look, “Oh, my dear, I would never do anything more than provide certain, ah, enhancements so that one can fully appreciate your charms. Some things are best left to the imagination, you know.”

Jolee finally interrupted, to my relief. “All right, before we’ve completely descended to sewer level, how about giving us some news on Antin Thorn?”

Mik’oth sighed dramatically, “I suppose we do have to come back to business. Thorn’s been in the Exchange for about ten or fifteen years, and has worked his way up the ranks quickly to become one of Norelden’s top lieutenants—some say the brains behind Naren’s movements. Thorn fought in the Mandalorian wars, and there’s rumors he was involved somehow with Malak’s army, but no one knows for sure yet. He definitely has a lot of experience with the seedier side of things. He’s quiet and very effective at what he does, according to my sources. Someone to watch out for.

“Oh, by the way, Norelden’s taken over another sector of the Exchange. That puts him at a little over a third of the Exchange controlled by him now. It’s making some of the bosses very nervous—the balance of power has definitely shifted in Norelden’s favor. There’s some rumors of shortages of weapons, too. The prices have skyrocketed on the black market.”

“Anything else we need to watch out for?” Jolee asked.

“Just your backs. Something very strange is going on out Telos way. Now I have to get back to my more legitimate activities, so I’ll let you go and contact you again if I hear anything else.”

“Thanks, old friend. We’re heading out to Telos as soon as we finish our business on Li’adin,” Jolee replied.

“Hopefully, I’ll have something more for you soon. I do so enjoy chatting with your lovely Padawan,” he waved good-bye, mainly at me.

Jolee shook his head and said pointedly but in a friendly tone, “Bye, Mik’oth,” and broke the holo-link.

"Mik'oth is quite an experience, Jolee" Talin commented in supreme understatement.

“I think I’ll go get suited up for sparring,” I said. Maybe that would give me enough time for my cheeks to stop burning.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Parry left, push blade down/side, swing blade cross center, return, I thought rapidly to myself, gritting my teeth against the oncoming flurry of blows from Talin.

He stopped briefly. “No, no, that’s not quite right. Try it again.”

I got back in position, and repeated the sequence a second time.

“No, still not right. Do it again.”

A third and fourth time went about as well as the first two. Talin frowned in thought, cocking his head a little, evaluating the sequence in his mind.

“Jolee, please come here and stand in for me. There’s just something not quite right but I need to see it from a different vantage point.” Talin requested.

Jolee got up into the ready position and ignited his lightsaber.

“Go slow the first time,” Talin instructed. Jolee attacked, I ran through the form sequence one more time, hoping to do it perfectly this time.

“That seems to be fine. Now go full speed, Jolee,” Talin said, and he watched every move intently.

Jolee came at me full throttle, and I could tell something was off that time.

“Ah, now I see it. When you push down, your blade tip is dropping," he mimed with his hands. "Try again.”

We ran the sequence again, but I made the same mistake once more. Talin frowned and just motioned for us to start again. I knew that run felt wrong, too, but couldn’t quite figure out when I was dropping my blade.

“Stop,” Talin finally said, with a look of frustration slipping across his face before he caught himself. "Let me show you."

He walked over behind me, and to my surprise wrapped his arms around mine and took hold of my hands. He moved arms, hands, and lightsaber with me, saying “Like this—parry, then this—hold the blade up here, don’t let your hands rotate,” and he tilted my hands so my wrists bent in the proper form, “and finally slice across center, then return.” He released my hands. “Now try it just like that.”

There was a sudden rush of feeling that I had not experienced since being held by Roben, whose arms had been equally strong and well muscled. I was quite unsure how an innocent touch by this man, whose irritating self-sufficient attitude bordered on pride, could elicit such a response. I stepped out of the ring briefly, walked in a tight circle to catch my breath and recite the Jedi code to myself to calm the adrenaline wave. When I returned to the ready position, I noticed Jolee’s sharp eyes were following me, but he kept a neutral face.

He raised his eyebrows and asked “Ready?”

“Let’s go,” Talin instructed, waiting. I was relieved that he apparently hadn’t noticed the emotional burst.

Jolee attacked once more, and this time I finally got the sequence correct. I raised my hands in triumph, smiling.

“Better,” Talin commented. “All right, let’s see what you can do now at full speed,” and he stepped in and took over Jolee’s place.

He came at me fast, and I barely kept up but still managed to do the proper form. After repeating it perfectly a number of times, Talin finally appeared to be satisfied, and I sat down on the bench next to Jolee and leaned back, briefly closing my eyes against the fatigue, breathing hard.

“Good practice. You always work hard. Reminds me of my wife. She worked hard like that, too, when she was learning lightsaber techniques,” Jolee commented casually.

“You were married?” I opened my eyes and sat up, looking at him in surprise.

Jolee grinned. “You know any other way of getting a wife?”

Diego Varen
04-08-2006, 05:17 AM
I suppose the next Chapter, Jolee tells Jae about his Wife. Good Chapter as always. The dream was dark and mysterious.

Char Ell
04-08-2006, 11:28 AM
This is one of the things I'll think of when I see Jolee during my next KotOR play thru.“Ah, you Lekku-less Wonder!" :lol:

Another great chapter, Jae Onasi. I enjoy how you take lines and other info from the game and incorporate them in your story. I think someone else mentioned that before but can't I say I like it too? I think it's an effective way to tie your story with the game. Looking forward to learning more about this Sith Lord and how Jae will handle the temptations of the dark side.

Jae Onasi
04-10-2006, 12:47 AM
I don't mind if it's said more than once. :D There's quite a bit there to work with (Ukatis system, Andor, Nayama, etc.), which makes it a lot easier to write.
Some of his lines are just too funny not to include, though I hate using a lot of the lines verbatim. Plagiarism drives me batty, though I included the caveat at the beginning that it was adapted from Kotor so I probably should just relax. :)
Chapter 11 is well on its way and I hope to have it up soon.

JediMaster12
04-10-2006, 01:33 AM
Chapter 10 was interesting Jae. The main character feeling the dream as if it were real and reacting to it. Reminds me of something I came up with in an RP in my head but with a normal guy, an NCIS agent :D
The little 'emotional burst' tells me that the love doctor is coming and he will hit hard.
Still makes me laugh with Jolee's dialogue because of his nature which you captured very well. Keep it up Jae.

Char Ell
04-10-2006, 02:13 AM
Congrats to Jae Onasi on The Adventures of Jolee Bindo surpassing the 1,000 view milestone!

Not too shabby... :thumbsup:

Jae Onasi
04-10-2006, 02:51 AM
1000 views--Yes! That is seriously cool. So nice of you all to take the time to look it over.

And, to celebrate, here's Chapter 11. :D

Chapter 11: Jolee’s Wife

“Why didn’t you tell me you were married?” I asked Jolee.

“You never asked,” he replied, “and it’s something that brings up a wealth of memories, some that are very, very good, and some very, very bad. It’s not something I feel like discussing with people I’ve only met yesterday.”

“And the Council allowed this?” Talin asked, eyebrows raised.

“Sometimes it’s easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission,” Jolee said with a wink, “I didn’t exactly give them much of a choice. Of course, love didn’t give me a choice, it just happened. Something that wonderful only happens once in life, if you’re lucky. I wasn’t going to throw that away for some silly rule that I thought was probably written by someone who was too scared to really live life.”

“What was she like?” I asked, fascinated at Jolee’s revelation.

“Oh, Nayama was a wonder,” he answered. He had a wistful look in his eyes, and a little smile on his lips as he remembered her. “Smart, determined, willful, she was a fireball. Gorgeous black hair and these deep brown eyes that made you want to do anything she asked, and I mean anything. Fabulous body, mm-mmm,” he shook his head back and forth in appreciation. “Strong in the Force, too, very strong, which is how she was able to shoot down my ship on Ukatis. But that’s another story. I loved her the moment I set eyes on her. She, of course, took a little convincing, but I eventually won her over,”

Talin commented dryly, “I’m almost afraid to ask what that entailed.”

“Yes, well, after she got over the fact that I had kidnapped her, our relationship developed quite nicely. Our love was a beautiful thing, better than anything I’ve experienced before or since. Everyone should be so lucky.”

“Kidnapped.” Talin stated, the amused disbelief playing across his face.

“Hey, it was the only way I was going to get her to come with me at the time. I picked her up, threw her over my shoulder, and ran for the ship. If I hadn’t, she might have been killed by the other Ukatis enforcers for allowing my escape. They don’t take too kindly to failure.”

The proximity alarm chimed.

“The towship?” I inquired.

“Probably, let’s go see.” Jolee answered.

Indeed it was the towship, and it did not take long for them to hook up the freighter to take to Master Supat. We were about to go back to the discussion of Jolee’s wife when the proximity alarm again went off, but this time in warning mode. Running back to the cockpit, we saw a small group of the same Sith fighters we saw previously, but this time they were accompanied by a cruiser. This cruiser was about four times our size, but was not a military transport.

“Hmm, bad karma. That’s a civilian cruiser, probably Exchange. Wonder what they’re doing hanging around with Sith fighters. Talin, get those shields up and start entering hyperspace coordinates to Li’adin,” Jolee ordered.

“What about the quarantine?” Talin argued.

“The quarantine’s not going to matter if we’re nothing but glowing spacedust, now get going! Jae, get on those turrets and hold those fighters off. I don’t want them getting that freighter or us.”

Jolee contacted the towship. “You’ve got the freighter hooked up, now get out of here! We’ll cover you!”

“Yes, sir! We’re already on our way.” was the immediate response.

They didn’t need any further encouragement. The towship started to accelerate rapidly while pulling along the freighter. Several fighters broke formation, some going after the tow ship, some flying over to shoot at us.

Jolee moved in between the cruiser and the towship. “Talin, maximize the shields above and behind us. We’re going to take some hits, but we can take more than that towship can.”

The Accipiter sped up to combat speed, closely following the towship. It did not take long for me to acquire a couple targets, and two of them disappeared in puffs of red-hot dust.

The cruiser retaliated by shooting at our ship, and several of the bolts hit home, rocking the Accipiter.

“R4, make sure those stabilizers are locked down, and get ready for the jump,” Talin directed.

R4 gave a series of whistles and beeps and rolled aft to inspect the stabilizers and prepare for hyperspace, rolling to the side slightly as another blast rattled the ship.

Jolee’s eyes were intense with concentration but calm, rapidly scanning across the heavens, taking everything in at once. “Talin, let me know as soon as those coordinates are punched in.”

“I’m working on it. The shields are holding, but if we take too many more hits they’re going to start losing power,” Talin said in a clipped speech.

Jolee wove our ship back and forth, avoiding most of the bolts. “How are we coming on those fighters, Jae?”

Two more fighters exploded beneath us. I was about to reply when Jolee quipped, “That’s a good enough answer for me, Jae, keep it up.”

Using the Force, I focused on the next fighter. I knew before he was centered in my sights where he would be and so was able to fire the moment his ship was centered in the mires.

“Looks like we have two more fighters, Jolee,” I noted. The adrenaline was making my heart beat rapidly in excitement, but I focused on staying as calm as the other two appeared.

Abruptly, the towship disappeared as it entered hyperspace. Now free of the task of protecting that ship, Jolee corkscrewed the Accipiter around and I hit another Sith ship. The flames swirled around us as we flew through the super-heated dust. The last fighter turned and flew towards the cruiser, which was closing on us at a fast clip. Jolee pulled up to peel away from the cruiser, and suddenly our ship rocked as a tractor beam caught us.

“Give me all the power she’s got, Talin,” Jolee ordered.

“Done, but I don’t know that we’ll have enough power to get away,” Talin said.

“That’s not my plan.” Jolee turned the nose of our ship towards the cruiser.

“You’re not going to fly towards the cruiser!” I exclaimed.

“Old smuggler’s trick. Jae, target the landing bay. Talin, target the emitter for the tractor beam. Start shooting on my mark, and make them count. Here we go, people!”

We went from full reverse to full thrust in mere moments. The cruiser loomed frighteningly large as we hurtled towards it, accelerating rapidly.

Jolee waited until the landing bay doors were open. “Now!” he commanded.
Talin, using the Force fully, took out the emitter in one shot. I laid down a stream of blaster fire on the landing bay, and explosions rocked the other ship. Released from the tractor beam, Jolee pulled the ship up. I held my breath, willing us to not hit the cruiser, and we skimmed the surface of the other ship. I would have been able to see people’s faces in the windows had we not been going so fast.

Jolee chortled and patted the control panel lovingly, “Heh-heh, she’s a fine, fine ship. We’ll get out of this yet.” He red-lined the speed to take us away from the cruiser as rapidly as possible.

More explosions could be seen traveling away from the initial burst in the landing bay. I saw two more small flares of fire and glowing smoke, and then the entire ship exploded in one large ball of fire, with smaller bursts of glowing dust mushrooming out from the the center.

“Woohoo! That’s how it’s done!” Jolee exclaimed in triumph.

Talin sat back in his chair, closing his eyes in relief and smiling. I pumped a fist in the air in joy.

“Now we just have to get out of here before they figure out just how their ship disappeared,” Jolee commented with a grin.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

When we found a safe place to stop and wait for Master Supat’s findings, we took the time to catch up on some badly needed meditation. Jolee and I sat in contemplation in the common room, lights dimmed. We concentrated on learning the complex techniques of defending against the scourge power. The holocron, which had been placed on the small table between our chairs, started glowing brighter, and then there were whispers of instructions, just at the edge of hearing. I looked over at it in faint surprise.

“Concentrate through the Force, Jae, and it should come in more clearly,” Jolee instructed, eyes closed in his meditation.

Closing my eyes once more, I relaxed and allowed the Force to flow through. The murmuring of the holocron became louder, and we began hearing about the defense against Force Scourge….then the visions started again, as vividly awful as the nightmare. Jolee struck down, Talin writhing in pain, his skin ravaged. I shivered and my heart pounded as I stood against the Sith Lord….

I blinked open my eyes to make the images stop. Breathing hard, I leaned forward in the chair, laying my head in my hands, rocking back and forth.

“The future. It’s the future I’m seeing. Ah, blast it, I don’t want it to be true. I can’t stand to see either of you dying.” I sat up again as the disturbing images faded.

“The future is a very fluid thing,” Jolee said, reassuringly. “It may happen that way, it may not, and navel-gazing at it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Truth is, Jae, that most of us Jedi aren’t going to die peacefully in our beds. We all know that we’re called upon to do some of the most dangerous things in the galaxy. Most of the time we succeed, thank the Force. Sometimes we don’t. You’re going to lose more people you deeply care for and maybe even love, like Roben, and you’ll have to make peace with that at some point. Focus on the here and now, and really live life like there is no tomorrow. When tomorrow does come, you’ll be grateful to have another day with the ones you care about. Suck the marrow out of life.”

“That doesn’t mean I have to like it,” I replied, rather morosely.

“Of course it doesn’t. Do I look like I lead the cheering section for death and destruction?” He looked at me, eyes crinkling along with a smile.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at that, though the sadness took much longer to dissipate.

The holovid link rang. It was the call we had been waiting for the last couple of days. I hoped we’d finally be able to move out of the sector. We’d managed to find a suitable place to conceal our ship while we waited to hear if we could break quarantine, but knowing that more fighters could burst out of hyperspace at anytime while we sat around waiting was putting us all a bit on edge.

Master Supat’s sonorous voice filled the common room. “I have examined the bodies carefully and have run a number of tests. It is indeed a Force attack, and not a natural condition that is transmissable.”

I felt a mixed sense of relief and unease at his words.

He continued, “It is, as I feared, Force Scourge. This is a very powerful technique, and I have transmitted techniques for you to learn and meditate upon. It may be your only hope against this power.”

Jolee announced, “The pilot gave us a holocron when we were on the ship. It addresses Force Scourge as well. I have to tell you, Supat, I thought it was destroyed when Ossus burned up.” Jolee held it up and rotated the small pyramid around so that Supat could get a better view of it.

Master Supat tapped his fingers together in thought. “Yes, it was one of the holocrons we thought was lost to the supernova. I have seen this one before, and in fact based some of my instructions to you on the information I had learned from it long ago. It must be the will of the Force that it has surfaced after all this time. I am unsure how or why it has returned, but I sense danger in its mere presence. You must take care to learn the techniques completely. Vandar and I will contact you if we have any further insights.”

“Any news on the cruiser?” asked Jolee.

“It was, as you suspected, an Exchange ship, registered to Vogga the Hutt but listed as stolen. Why it was accompanied by Sith fighters, I do not know. We can only conjecture that Norelden has somehow allied himself with them.”

“With our little sojourn here, we’re going to be several days late to Li’adin,” I told Master Supat.

He smiled in return. “Do not concern yourself, because the Li’adans do not conceive time as we do. All will be well. In fact, I think you will find them quite intriguing.”

Talin joined in the conversation, bowing to Master Supat. “Is there anything I need to know that can aid in developing our relations with the Li’adans?”

“There is little that we know of this very reclusive system and its sentients, but I shall transmit the transcripts of our latest communications. You may be able to glean additional information from them.”

“I shall endeavor to represent the Order and the Republic well.” Talin bowed once more to end his portion of the conversation.

“The data should be at your terminal now,” Supat stated.

Jolee nodded an affirmative. “Looks like it’s all here.”

“Then I shall leave you to your tasks. May the Force be with you,” and his image faded from the holovid.

Jolee’s eyes lit up. He clearly enjoyed the adventure. “Well, lads and lasses, next stop, Li’adin.”

Diego Varen
04-10-2006, 04:07 AM
I knew Jolee had to tell Jae about his Wife. Good Chapter as always. Congrats on having over 1,000 views.

Char Ell
04-10-2006, 10:34 AM
Oh Jolee. Such a rebel, what with kidnapping his future wife and all. So caveman-ish, heh-heh-heh. :D

I do hope how the holocron avoided the destruction of Ossus and came into the hands of the Force Scourged pilot will be revealed in future chapters.

Jae Onasi
04-10-2006, 10:48 AM
Oh Jolee. Such a rebel, what with kidnapping his future wife and all. So caveman-ish, heh-heh-heh. :D


:D Jolee has a line in the game where he says he kidnapped Nayama after breaking out of the Ukatis prison, so I ran with it.


I do hope how the holocron avoided the destruction of Ossus and came into the hands of the Force Scourged pilot will be revealed in future chapters.

I have to have a few mysteries for you all. ;)

JediMaster12
04-10-2006, 04:50 PM
Of course Jae does! :D
Good chapter Jae. I thought you were going to pull a Millenium Falcon where they attach to the cruiser's hull. The idea of Jolee saying Woohoo! is beyond me. I do that myself, but Jolee? I would have thouhgt of something approving and yet disapproving at the same time. as always a good chapter Jae. Just don't forget about Talin and Jae with their romance :D

Jae Onasi
04-10-2006, 05:35 PM
"Woohoo" sounded better than "Yeehaw!" and certainly beats something like the f-bomb. :D
I figure if I can shout Woohoo! out myself at my (Not-as-old-as-Jolee-but-not-a-kid) age, Jolee probably could, too.
I haven't forgotten about those two, either. Shhh! ;)

Renegade Puma
04-12-2006, 08:52 AM
Great stuff Jae. And congrats on the 1,000 views. I must say you reached that mark pretty fast. Which really isn't fair as some of us "me" have to work hard for such a thing. ;) "j/k" Keep up the great work, I can't wait for the showdown with the Sith lord.

Jae Onasi
04-12-2006, 11:26 AM
Great stuff Jae. And congrats on the 1,000 views. I must say you reached that mark pretty fast. Which really isn't fair as some of us "me" have to work hard for such a thing. ;) "j/k" Keep up the great work, I can't wait for the showdown with the Sith lord.

Thanks.
At 1800+ views, you're not doing too shabby yourself. It's FFWM that we have to catch up with. :D

Jae Onasi
04-13-2006, 01:30 PM
Hmm, this one took awhile. I ended up dumping an entire half chapter (or more) just because it just didn't go right, and did a wholesale rewrite.
@JM12--you can call me a tease. I probably deserve it. ;)


Chapter 12: Li’adin

The Li’adans contacted us as we approached the system. There were three humanoids on the holovid link. All three were more pale than I was accustomed to on either Onderon or Coruscant, and their skin had a light amber cast to it. All three had sparse hair in varying shades of dark brown, with large eyes to match. They wore blue outfits of varying shades in a light fabric that fluttered in the wind, just as in previous contacts with the Jedi or Republic, I observed.

“We are Kiol’ad, and we welcome you to our system,” they said to us warmly, each placing his hands together in unison almost as if in prayer.

Their speech pattern was one of the more unique I had seen in the galaxy—each saying a word or short phrase as part of the total sentence, as if completing the others’ thoughts. It came out as ‘We. Are Kiol’ad. And we. Welcome. You. To our system.”

Talin appeared non-plussed by their unusual form of speech. “We are honored to be the guests of Li’adin,” he said formally, placing his hands together also.

“Please maintain. Your current course. We await. Your visit eagerly.” It was dizzying to switch eye contact back and forth between each speaker so abruptly, even though I had been prepared for it by our review of the holovid transcripts. The link faded out.

“R4, do a passive scan of the system.” Talin directed. He turned to me. “Why wouldn’t we want to do an active scan?” he quizzed.

“It could be considered a provocative action, and we don’t want to appear to be attempting to spy.” I answered.

“Ah, you studied then. However, we still need some information, and a passive scan is better than nothing.” he said, appearing satisfied with my answer.

“Their speech pattern is hard to follow,” I noted.

Jolee added, “It is a little crazy to go back and forth from one person to another. Almost gives me a headache,”

“Try thinking of it as one person talking, not three. Look at them as a group, since that’s how they function, not as three individuals,” Talin suggested. “So, what did you notice during that brief interchange?” he asked me.

“Ooh, I love a good quiz,” Jolee interjected, “so long as I’m not the one required to give the answers. I did my time in school already, thank you. I’ll just read your notes later. I’m going to go study that holocron some more while you and Jae hash out the boring points of diplomacy.”

He went to the galley. Shortly thereafter, the smell of fresh coffee floated on the air.

“I have a feeling we’re going to be studying awhile, and I’d like some coffee to go along with the quiz. And you?” I asked him. He nodded no.

“So, what were your findings?” Talin asked, waiting for an answer when I returned. I sat down to think, looking over the top of the steaming fragrant liquid at him.

“There were three of them together, yellowish skin, brown hair—all different shades, brown eyes—more similar in color. All were dressed in different shades of blue in a lightweight material. They’re tall and stocky. They appear to be healthy—there was no indication of illness or weakness, and they were standing without difficulty. They placed their hands together when greeting us just like in previous contacts. It’s windy and they appeared to be outside in it, there were a few clouds in the sky. They must be connected mentally somehow in order to speak the way they do. The plant life surrounding them has large long leaves with a blue-green color—could be because their sun is bluer than other systems. Their building architecture is rounded with light colored walls and dark roofs.” I answered.

“An adequate start, and your observation of health will complement my information. While we are here I’d like you to continue watching for health or medical matters, since that is your forte. However, you missed quite a bit.”

“And what would that be?” I asked, sighing inwardly at what was likely going to be yet another lecture on my lack of appropriate skills.

Talin closed his eyes a moment and looked at the pictures in his mind. “Kiol’ad is a trio, and I agree with your assessment of mental connectedness or possibly some type of Force skill. They were too far away for me to feel for that. The central man drives the conversation and said the most, we’ll call him the primary man of the group. He was wearing the lightest blue of the outfits. The youngest of the three stood to the right and wore the darkest blue. The colors and shades may or may not be pertinent. There was subtle braiding on the shoulders of all three, and the primary man had the widest braiding, though the difference was small. The outfits loosely cover everything but their hands and heads so we are not entirely sure about their anatomy, other than it’s humanoid. I saw no evidence of weapons, though small knives and such are easy to conceal in such loose clothing. Their skin is a sallow color, which could be a reflection of a species developing on a blue-sun planet. It could also be some type of appearance-altering chemical. Their hair is dark and sparse as you noted. That may be personal taste or something else. That’s just Kiol’ad.”

“Just Kiol’ad?” I asked with a hint of irony.

“There’s plenty more, I assure you. The call did indeed come from outside—you could see the effects of the wind on their clothing and watch the clouds rapidly floating by in the deep blue sky. However, they were not standing at ground level. They were on a balcony that overlooked some kind of pastoral scene, though those details were unclear—you could catch the perspective of height, however. Why they chose to call from outside, I do not know, but it may be significant. The buildings all are constructed with smaller windows, are all connected, and the structures have smoothed or rounded edges. There are no sharp edges or corners on any of the buildings—that could be a reflection of taste, though I believe it’s a strong possibility that they are built that way because of the weather. Every transmission we’ve received has shown the same windy weather. All the buildings and roofs are the same color. This could be one complex of buildings in a particular architectural style, or it could be that the Li’adans value uniformity.

“There was no evidence of any transports. Either they are out of our view, or the Li’adans do not use them, which could be interesting. Also out of view were any other Li’adans, animals, and other fauna.

“As for the flora, there were five potted plants, all the same apparent type, all with long, shiny blue-green leaves and no flowers. The pots are in the same light color as on the building exteriors, and have a simple raised design on them.”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me what color the soil in the pots was,” I commented.

“Nearly black,” he said with a small smile.

R4 brought back the data from the scans. “Thanks, R4,” I said, taking the datapads from him. Talin picked up the solar system information, and I chose to study the map of their planet.

After inspecting the data for a few minutes, I looked over at Talin. “Why is it so important to have encyclopedic knowledge of these people, anyway? Isn’t that something for the researchers and xenobiologists to investigate more fully? I thought it would be enough simply to be polite at this point.”

Talin sighed, as if he were a frustrated teacher trying to educate a dense student. “I was hoping you would have a greater understanding of some diplomacy, but I will try to further your education on that subject. You have to observe everything in first contacts, because you never know what’s important and what’s not right away. Maybe they just like ivory colored flowerpots, and maybe ivory colored flowerpots can only be owned by people of certain rank. We don’t want to do something that is unintentionally offensive. Now please review that map—I’ll need a summary of it shortly.”

He continued to review the datapad R4 had given him for any other useful information.

Frustrated with all the condescension, I stood and set the map down. “Are you always this bombastic or is this just one of your good days?”

That got his attention. “What in the world are you talking about?” he asked, cocking his head at me in question, eyes intent on mine. He kept a neutral face, I noted.

“You’re always critical. You make it sound like you have graced my presence by teaching me lightsaber skills or anything else for that matter. Nothing I do is even acceptable in your view, much less any good. And your language is so, so….” I stopped, searching for just the right word.

“Sophisticated?” Talin said with a bit of a smirk.

I leveled my gaze at him. “Try pompous. Or haughty. Or maybe conceited. I’m not entirely sure how you manage to fit your head in this ship with the rest of us.” I finished in annoyance.

Talin, maddeningly, just chuckled. “Perhaps you are correct in some of your assessment, though I haven’t measured my head circumference recently to give you an accurate answer. Now since you are being so frank in your appraisal, perhaps I will share what I’ve learned of you in turn.”

“No doubt I will be spellbound by your brilliant insights,” I retorted with great irony. I recognized that the conversation, as well as my emotions, were spinning entirely out of control and silently recited the Jedi Code to calm my irritation.

Talin paused a minute to consider carefully his response. He seemed to evaluate every word for a proper nuance before finally speaking. “You are a Padawan, and have Padawan level skills. You need a lot more training for those skills to develop properly. If I drive you hard, it is simply because you have a great deal of potential, a diamond in the rough as it were. Despite what you think, I’d very much like to see you succeed in your training, because I think you will be a great asset to the Order. You history at the Jedi Academy, which I reviewed by the way, indicates you may have an issue with letting people get anywhere close to you, likely because you lost Roben. Your self-conscious reaction to Mik’oth’s flirting leads me to think that you, for reasons that are unclear, are uncomfortable with others noticing either your body or your beauty.”

“I wasn’t aware Jedi were supposed to even notice such things,” I noted coolly.

Talin, to my chagrin, just threw back his head and laughed. He held his hands out to his sides and replied with amusement, “How could I not notice? I haven’t stopped being a man just because I put on a Jedi robe. We spar together daily in just enough clothes to keep us all decent, but shorts and tight shirts don’t exactly leave a lot to the imagination. It would be a mistake for you to consider yourself unattractive.”

My cheeks colored. “Men!” I fumed, grabbing my coffee cup with the intent to escape to the galley.

Jolee entered the common room with an amused look on his face, having heard a good portion of our exchange.

He quickly looked back and forth between the two of us in scrutiny as if making some kind of evaluation and then said to me, “Yes, yes, all we men think about is women’s physiques and finding the quickest way to the bedroom. I’ve heard it a million times, believe me.” Then he grinned. “Of course, I’ve flirted about a million times, so I probably deserve it. However, we men do think about other things, occasionally. Like our stomachs and the latest standings in swoop-bike racing or maybe hunting and killing something. Now if you two are done with your verbal sparring, we should get back to the business of looking over the information on the Li’adans. You never know when we might need that knowledge. And usually it’s some obscure bit of data that is the most useful, not the obvious stuff.”

Talin put on a professional mien and picked up another datapad to review. I let the ire flow out and the calm return, and took up the map once more to glean what information I could from it.

After several hours of study, Talin had indeed found a lot of useful information, and we all worked on memorizing whatever we could.

Jolee decided, “I need to do a little meditation to plant all this stuff in my brain. Information tends to fall out of it too easy at my age. Come with me, Jae. And you, Talin?”

“I’m going to finish the last of these transcripts, and then I think I’ll practice that new Force form you taught me, Jolee. I need to work some of the kinks out of my neck before we arrive at their planet. I’ll be along in about 20 minutes.”

“Don’t neglect studying the techniques against that scourge,” Jolee reminded him.

Talin nodded his agreement and returned to his notes. Jolee and I went to the sparring room and sat down in comfortable positions to reflect upon the material we’d just learned. We closed our eyes.

After a few minutes, Jolee broke the silence. “You’ve never been with a man, have you?” he asked quite casually.

“Jolee!” I exclaimed, eyes flying open in surprise at such a personal question.

He opened his eyes. “Jae, it’s just a simple question—it’s either that or some other deeper and darker issue, and as your master I need to know now so we can fix it before someone else learns about it and tries to exploit it. If your discomfort is obvious even to Talin, it’s going to be obvious to a lot of other people, too. I’m not offering to jump into bed with you, for heaven’s sake. At my age, I prefer my women to have a few wrinkles on them. Or maybe some headtails.”

I could feel my face redden. “Roben and I had decided to follow some of the traditional customs on Onderon and wait til we were married.” I said with honesty. “Then he died, I joined the Order, and that was the end of that. No other issues that I know about. The Queen made sure her attendants were protected from immoral influences, and the Jedi academy is hardly a hotbed of salacious activity.” I leaned my head back against the wall and closed my eyes, hoping the pinking of my cheeks would subside soon. “I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.”

“And Roben was your only significant relationship, I take it.”

Nodding, I told him yes. “We were very good friends for a long time before we realized we were in love. We cared a great deal for each other, did so many things together, and shared so many of the same ideas and feelings about life.”

“Hmmph. I sure hope you at least gave the poor boy a kiss.”

I looked over at him and smiled. “OK, I’m not that naïve. Now, I don’t suppose we could find another topic to talk about?”

“Look, it’s my job to watch out for your development as a Jedi, be that Force abilities, mental, emotional, or physical. I can tell you it’s probably time to let Roben go and live life fully—it’s too short not to appreciate it completely. If Roben was as special as you say, I doubt he’d want you to keep pining for him. But that's something only you can decide. Now, I don’t plan to give you an instruction manual on dealing with men—you’ll be able to figure that out all by yourself just fine when the time is right. It’s better if you discover some things all by yourself. What all this does tell me is that I should keep an extra sharp eye out for all those unsavory types who might want to take advantage of your inexperience in the relationship department. Like Mik’oth,” he finished with a broad smile.

“Add Talin to your list while you’re at it.”

“Yes, well, Talin may or may not create a problem,” Jolee mused with an inscrutable look. “I suppose we’ll just have to see what happens.”

“You know, I don’t believe the subject of people’s love lives ever came up once while I was at the Jedi academy.”

“Since when have I been anything but an iconoclastic Jedi? You’re not the average ‘grew up in the Jedi academy’ Padawan, either, having that ludicrous ‘don’t form attachments’ belief thrown at you every day. Anyone who’s even partly alive knows that’s not true. All this nonsense about avoiding love is such foo-foo.”

Talin walked in, apparently ready to work on his Force form. I dearly hoped he hadn’t overheard the entire conversation.

“But if you allow love, it can lead to passion, and that can lead to fear and rage and the dark side. Do you want to condemn Jedi to the dark side for the sake of a fleeting emotion?” Talin argued.

Jolee replied, “Love doesn’t condemn you, it saves you. Passion may lead to the dark side, but love doesn’t. They should be teaching Jedi how to control their passions while being in love, not shun it. We shouldn’t avoid the greatest things in life just because they come with a few complications.”

“That is an interesting argument that I had never before considered,” Talin said, though it was apparent that he was not entirely ready to believe it.

“I’m chock full of interesting arguments that the Order hasn’t considered.” Jolee responded. “Now let’s get working on that Force form, Talin.”

“I think I’ll go work some more on the scourge defense. I’m having trouble getting my mind wrapped around the entire technique,” I said, getting up to return to my quarters.

“Don’t force it—it’ll come to you eventually,” Jolee assured me.

“I’ll take your word for it, then.”

“Good. I haven’t lived this long to spout false reassurances.” Jolee said, pulling out his lightsaber and shedding his robe to begin working with Talin.

Back in my room, I sat on my bed, meditating as Jolee’s comments played through my mind.

Diego Varen
04-13-2006, 01:41 PM
Good Chapter as always. I liked what Jolee said.

“Ooh, I love a good quiz,” Jolee interjected, “so long as I’m not the one required to give the answers. I did my time in school already, thank you. I’ll just read your notes later. I’m going to go study that holocron some more while you and Jae hash out the boring points of diplomacy.”

Why is just and everything underlined?

PS. Please check out my new Fanfic, Fallen.

Jae Onasi
04-13-2006, 03:16 PM
Good Chapter as always. I liked what Jolee said.



Why is just and everything underlined?

PS. Please check out my new Fanfic, Fallen.

You guys have no idea how much I laugh when some of these lines pop into my head just as if Jolee's standing right there talking to me.

Just/everything underlined merely for emphasis.

Will check out your fic! You are just wicked for leaving us hanging with all the other fics, though ;P

Diego Varen
04-13-2006, 03:34 PM
You guys have no idea how much I laugh when some of these lines pop into my head just as if Jolee's standing right there talking to me.

Just/everything underlined merely for emphasis.

Will check out your fic! You are just wicked for leaving us hanging with all the other fics, though ;P

Yeah well, I'm going to remove the second parts of Beyond The Force and Darth Insurgo. The Mandalorian Wars Fic has been abandoned and Jorran Corral, well I suppose I'll have to finish that one and The Search Of Revan has to be finished. Anyway thanks for looking at my new Fic, Fallen.

JediMaster12
04-13-2006, 03:54 PM
Jae, I don't know how to say it but your main character, Jae, sounds a bit like Carth in the whole pining for lost loved one thingy. At least she's not a whiner :D
Still I like where this is going and I think Talin does have a BIG head.
Good as always Jae and I have a new fic up called Broken Wounds Heal. Look forward to the next chapter.

Jae Onasi
04-13-2006, 06:43 PM
Jae, I don't know how to say it but your main character, Jae, sounds a bit like Carth in the whole pining for lost loved one thingy. At least she's not a whiner :D
Still I like where this is going and I think Talin does have a BIG head.
Good as always Jae and I have a new fic up called Broken Wounds Heal. Look forward to the next chapter.

You know, it does sound a bit like Carth, which wasn't intentional, tho he is one of my favorite characters also. His issue was more learning to trust after being betrayed.

Yep, this is a No-Whine Zone. :) I've got 2 younger kids and get my whining quota met that way, so I don't want it in my fic, too. :D

Heh, Talin's so obnoxiously self-sufficient. He'd drive me nuts if I was stuck on a small ship with him.

Renegade Puma
04-14-2006, 05:15 AM
A masterful chapter Jae. :) I really really enjoyed the exchange between Talin and Jae. It was funny and serious at the same time. I really don't see that you had any problems with this chapter. Keep up the great work. I can't wait for the next chapter. I am going to try and go finish my new chapter now. :)

P.S.
I hate you. ;) You write so well that I am actually starting to like Talin now. Where as in the beginning I didn't like him at all.

Jae Onasi
04-14-2006, 12:02 PM
^
Believe me, you didn't want to see the first draft of that chapter, because it was really, well, dumb, and it just wasn't going anywhere. :D But that's what revision is for.

Talin may be a pompous jerk at (many) times, but he's a complex kind of guy. He'd still drive me crazy in close quarters for extended periods of time, though. :)

RP, I've been writing non-fiction stuff and reading just about anything interesting for a long time (for college, work, volunteer activities, pleasure, church, etc.) I write every single day, and while I don't prefer to give out my age, (though it's not quite as old as mach ;P ), I will tell you for perspective I've been married almost 16 years, so I have some time/life experience advantages. Granted writing prose daily doesn't always transfer to creative writing, but thought organization, mechanics of spelling/grammar, typing/keyboarding, etc., are similar enough that it speeds the whole process up and makes it easier.

Char Ell
04-15-2006, 12:56 AM
Jolee replied, “Love doesn’t condemn you, it saves you. Passion may lead to the dark side, but love doesn’t. They should be teaching Jedi how to control their passions while being in love, not shun it. We shouldn’t avoid the greatest things in life just because they come with a few complications.”AMEN TO THAT! I'm most definitely a believer in the ideals of the Jedi Order's Bindo sect. :D

And to think, Jae hasn't experienced the pleasures of full physical intimacy. :blush2: Well, perhaps Jae Onasi will tastefully address that in the story. I don't know though. My guess is Jae would have to leave the order and get married for that to happen.

Jae Onasi
04-15-2006, 01:15 AM
AMEN TO THAT! I'm most definitely a believer in the ideals of the Jedi Order's Bindo sect. :D


:) Me too. Of course, that's probably stating the obvious. :D

And to think, Jae hasn't experienced the pleasures of full physical intimacy. :blush2: Well, perhaps Jae Onasi will tastefully address that in the story. I don't know though. My guess is Jae would have to leave the order and get married for that to happen.

I'll try to very carefully and tastefully address the "S-word." My son reads this story and this is a PG kind of forum, so it has to be written with a certain level of discretion. There are just some things he doesn't need to learn yet, and this isn't one of those naughty romance novels. ;)

Hallucination
04-15-2006, 02:35 AM
^Yeah... You should definitely be careful around that topic..... And avoid it being done like Memoirs of a Geisha. :xp:

Jae Onasi
04-15-2006, 10:39 AM
^Yeah... You should definitely be careful around that topic..... And avoid it being done like Memoirs of a Geisha. :xp:

;P It's "The Adventures of Jolee Bindo", not "Memoirs of a Lusty Jedi...."

No worries! I'd never do anything to give stingerhs (or other mods) a heart attack about content. Besides, sometimes a suggestion that allows the reader to use his own imagination is more powerful than a graphic description.

That was a fabulous film, btw. The cinematography and costuming were gorgeous and the look into that aspect of culture was fascinating, though I don't know enough about Japanese culture to know how accurate it was.
I'm just starting to read the book now.

Hallucination
04-15-2006, 12:50 PM
I saw the movie, but I'm scared of reading the book, something about how the books are always more insightful than the movies and I got enough insight into the life a geisha. And the movie wasn't very picky about who was acting who (the main character was acted by a Chinese woman). :)

Jae Onasi
04-15-2006, 05:47 PM
I saw the movie, but I'm scared of reading the book, something about how the books are always more insightful than the movies and I got enough insight into the life a geisha. And the movie wasn't very picky about who was acting who (the main character was acted by a Chinese woman). :)

Humor mode way, way, on: Eh, what do we stupid Americans know? Chinese, Japanese, Korean, they all look the same to us anyway....No worries if a Chinese woman plays a Japanese woman or vice versa. As long as they're all beautiful, it doesn't matter.

Hallucination
04-15-2006, 05:56 PM
Humor mode way, way, on: Eh, what do we stupid Americans know? Chinese, Japanese, Korean, they all look the same to us anyway....No worries if a Chinese woman plays a Japanese woman or vice versa. As long as they're all beautiful, it doesn't matter.
Well, I'm Canadian so I don't really know. :p But I do agree with the last line. :D

Jae Onasi
04-18-2006, 08:46 PM
Sigh, not a great day for me--my kitty had to have emergency surgery today, though he seems to have come out of it pretty well. If I missed anything, chalk it up to being distracted today.


Chapter 13: The Story of the Sandstorm

“You will maintain current course,” an automated mechanical voice warned us as we made the final approach to the planet. “Deviation from your course will activate planetary defenses.”

A pinpoint opening appeared in the glowing planetary shield and gradually expanded to allow our ship to fly through into the planet’s stratosphere.
As Jolee flew the Accipiter further into the atmosphere of Li’adin, the ship started bucking in the wind.

“Strap in, boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” he said. Talin and I both pulled on our belts as Jolee returned his attention to maintaining control of our spacecraft.

“Well, our data did say that since the planet rotates at a slightly faster speed than normal, we would likely encounter greater winds. That information appears to be correct,” Talin commented. We watched the wind whipping the white clouds into unusual swirling patterns below us.

The holovid link chimed, and Talin, taking the lead in communication with the Li’adans, opened the link. It was Kiol’ad once more. I found after watching the holovids of their communications many times, I had become more comfortable with their constant switching of speakers, and so I was able to follow them without noticing it quite so much.

“There is a windstorm that has developed on your direct route to our facility. We are sending instructions to divert you around it. Please do not attempt to fly through it—the windspeeds can approach tornadic levels that are more than strong enough to shear the wings off of ships,” Kiol’ad warned.

“We thank you for your instructions and will comply,” Talin answered, downloading the information.

“Our reception party awaits you with great anticipation. You should arrive in about a half hour,” Kiol’ad finished.

“We are eager to finally meet you,” Talin replied with a carefully modulated voice. He had fully entered ‘diplomat mode,’ his demeanor showing detached attentiveness.

The link faded out.

Jolee commented, “I don’t sense any deception, though they’re hard to read. Still, we need to be careful. There’s a darkness working its way here.”

Stretching out my feelings, I sensed the beings and then found the darkness Jolee spoke of. “It’s not the Li’adans, though. It’s something else, but I can’t find it.”

“I agree—but rather than being part of this darkness, I think the Li’adans are the targets,” Talin concluded.

“Well, we may not be able to do a first contact with blasters hanging off our belts, but I think we need to keep our lightsabers close,” said Jolee.

“Normally, I would avoid anything that could be construed negatively in a first meeting, but with all three of us sensing something wrong, I will grudgingly agree to this exception,” Talin said. “However, we should carry them with great discretion.”

“You know, this wind reminds me of a time when I was on Tatooine,” Jolee said, starting a new story. He caught the look Talin and I shot each other. “What? Bored with my stories already? You would do well to listen to your elders, you know.

“Anyway, now where was I? Oh, yes, Tatooine. Mik’oth and I had decided to set down on Tatooine to exchange some of the rare items we, ah, acquired from the Ukatis for some medical and food supplies.”

“Why Tatooine? It’s in the middle of nowhere,” I commented.

“It was closer than Nar Shaddaa and a little quieter. We couldn’t just walk into the middle of a Coruscant jewelry shop and say ‘Here, we want to sell these things we stole from some prissy, selfish aristocrats on Ukatis’. You can just imagine the comments the Council would have about that. Vandar would probably sprout new hair out of his ears.”

“It’d be very interesting, to say the least,” I said, musing about all the possibilities, all of them involving some level of humor.

“Well, we had just finished trading some items in this little out-of-the way shop owned by a couple Jawas when the worst sandstorm blew up. The Jawas offered to give us shelter til it blew over. Anyone walking outside right then would have been blown away into the desert and sand-scoured. That was fine with us, because these Jawas somehow always got their hands on some of the finest chocolate you’ve seen this side of the galaxy. You’d never expect to see that out on a sandball of a planet. That chocolate is so good, it's almost a sin not to eat it. Well, just as they’d finished securing the windows and were about to bar the door against the storm, in walks this nasty looking Rodian. Short fellow with big bug-eyes, slimy-green skin and a blaster rifle the size of his bad attitude.”

“A nasty bounty hunter, no doubt,” Talin guessed.

“Yes. The Ukatis apparently decided we had caused enough trouble for them that they put a price on our heads. This Rodian somehow managed to track us to Tatooine, though how, I’ll never know. Pure luck for him to walk into the shop right when he did. He’d given up the search for the day and was just looking for a place to wait out the storm. He immediately drew his rifle and said something silly about collecting on his bounty.”

“What happened then?” I asked.

“I was getting to that, if you give me half a minute. Young people never like to wait,” Jolee said, shaking his head. “Anyway, the Jawas dove for cover. Mik’oth looked at me and said ‘Who’s turn is it? Yours or mine?’ I told him ‘I think it’s yours.’ ‘Good. You get him. I need a nap.' I sighed, pulled out my lightsaber, and attacked. He squeezed of a shot that ricocheted around the room, and then his blaster rifle went flying.

"A card-carrying, lightsaber-wielding Jedi wasn’t going to stop him from trying to get his bounty anyway, and the Rodian and I ended up in one nasty little brawl after he dodged my attack and got inside my defense. He knocked me to the ground, and my saber went flying across the room. He was good in hand-to-hand combat, really good, and I thought I just might have met my match. He was all over me like the bad scent of bantha fodder. Nothing I tried to do to get him off me was working. At one point I think I yelled out for Mik’oth to give me a little help, which of course meant he continued to stand there watching me do all the work.

"The Rodian had me in some kind of lock when I noticed Mik’oth step over by the exit. Just as he was about to slam my head up against the door, Mik’oth pushed it open. A particularly nasty gust blew up right then, and suddenly one very surprised Rodian and I got sucked out the door and right into the storm. That ended that head lock, heh-heh,”

“So you were just flying around in the middle of a major sandstorm? How did you survive?” I asked, eyes wide.

“We got separated and it only took moments before I couldn’t see the Rodian anymore, much less hear him screaming over the roar of the wind. Of course, I had my eyes pretty much shut with the blowing sand and all, so I guess I couldn’t have seen much anyway. I don’t know if it was the Force or what, but I stuck my hands out blindly and suddenly caught hold of a metal rod. I grabbed on for dear life and shimmied down it as quickly as I could. Turns out it was the flagpole for the cantina. I was able to hunker down in the alcove of the door until things died down enough that they opened the cantina back up. I was sitting at one of the tables with a drink, picking sand out of my teeth, when a very dejected Mik’oth walked in holding my saber like it was a souvenir, looking to drown his sorrows.”

“I’m sure he thought you were dead,” Talin noted.

“You’re right, too, he did. When I called out his name and waved to him, he nearly had a heart attack. Then he put on this huge smile of relief and about killed me bowling me over trying to hug me. Let me tell you, that smarts when you’ve had your skin sandblasted away.”

“That’s Mik’oth…. I don’t suppose they ever found the Rodian?” I inquired.

“Nope, though one of the sandcrawlers out in the Dune Sea seemed to have an unexplained sandy slime-spatter on it. Some bits of clothing of a suspiciously similar color to what he’d been wearing were stuck in a bunch of the gears.”

“Jolee, I believe you have some of the strangest things happen to you,” Talin observed.

“You live long enough, you’ll have your own little collection of strange stories, too,” Jolee cheerfully retorted.

“Looks like we’re getting close,” I said. The city suddenly came into view as we broke through the cloud deck.

Watching it below as we approached, I tried to observe everything, partly expecting another Talin quiz, partly in fascination at being one of the few people from off planet that had ever had the opportunity to set foot on this world. All the ivory or tan colored buildings were in the same rounded architecture that we had seen previously, and many were connected to other buildings, the covered arcades spoking out in a spider-web pattern. In the larger ground bridges, we could see transports speeding along. Likely, there were numerous tunnels below ground further connecting the city.
Jolee brought our craft down, landing in a large bay. We exited the Accipiter as the roof extended back over the bay.

“Wait, where did I leave my key?” Jolee asked as the hatch locked. He patted around his robe frantically. “Ah, there it is,” he said with relief, pulling it out of an inside pocket. “Sometimes you forget these things when you get old, you know.” Then he grinned mischievously.

Talin regarded him with a touch of taut frustration; I smiled.

Jolee clapped Talin’s shoulder lightly a couple times. “Lighten up, Talin. The fate of the universe does not rest on you having the perfect first-contact meeting. They don’t strike me as beings who will get offended if you accidentally look at them cross-eyed. Every now and then it’s OK to make a mistake—I think it would be a pretty darn boring place if we were all perfect. With any luck, we’ll sit around and chat a bit, maybe share a little supper, and have a completely uneventful meeting.”

Talin smiled fractionally but settled back into his impassive but attentive expression as a small group of Li’adans arrived. Kiol’ad led the small entourage that was clumped in twos and threes. “Just follow my lead,” he said, looking at both of us to ensure we fully understood.

“Don’t do anything to get ourselves into trouble. Got it,” Jolee cracked.

Talin lifted an eyebrow faintly at Jolee but otherwise elected to ignore the quip as the Li’adans approached us.

“Welcome to Li’adin,” Kiol’ad smiled, placing his hands together in greeting.
The rest of the entourage followed suit with the same motion.

Placing our hands in a similar fashion, we greeted them. Talin took the lead as the ‘primary.’ I stood on his right; Jolee took his left.

Kiol’ad made some introductions. “I am Chief Minister Kiol’ad. This is our second, Elin’ad.” Kiol’ad’s primary pointed to the group of three women. Then pointing to two groups of two men, he introduced them as Izah’an and Aklar’an.

Talin introduced us in turn, “I am Jedi Talin Kayl, and this is Jedi Master Jolee Bindo and Padawan Jae Onasi.” Jolee and I nodded in greeting to everyone.

“Please come with us. We will find a more comfortable place for our meeting.” Kiol’ad led the way through a short series of enclosed walkways that led away from the small spaceport. I made a mental note of the route as we walked along.

The tops of the walkways were made mainly of a strong clear material, letting in the blue-tinted sunlight that filtered through the clouds that floated swiftly by. The architecture was gently curved inside as well as out, and more often there were bends rather than sharp corners. Our hosts were all dressed in colors in the blue and green range of colors, with the primary member of each group dressed in the lightest shade. The braiding that Talin had noticed on the shoulders of Kiol’ad was still present, and theirs was the widest. Elin’ad had thinner braiding, and the groups of two had no braiding at all.

All appeared healthy and walked apparently without effort or distress, and the twosomes were younger than the threesomes were. It was hard to tell anything else about their physique other than the men were flat-chested and the women were not. Their loose clothing covered nearly all their extremities and did not allow much evaluation of the anatomy. While they obviously were not carrying large weapons, we could not be certain that they were completely unarmed. It would have been a simple thing to conceal small weapons in all the folds of fabric.

“Your people have a unique style of architecture,” Talin noted pleasantly as we walked along. “Not very many cultures base their building designs on curves both inside and out. I also noticed that none of your transports travel outside.”

“Both the architecture and our transportation are reflections of the fierce storms we experience,” Elin’ad said, speaking for the first time. The voices in her group of three brunettes were all alto, with almost a musical quality to the lilt of their speech. “Our buildings are designed to withstand very high winds. Also, certain times of the year we can safely travel outside without fear of a rapidly developing storm. Then you will see many of our people enjoying the outdoors. During the stormy seasons, however, the weather and the winds can become violent with very little warning.”

We arrived quickly at our meeting room and Kiol’ad ushered us all in. Even the furniture has slightly rounded and upholstered in invitingly warm colors. The seats were arranged in groups of twos and threes to accommodate the Li’adans’ unique social structure.

“Please, let us be seated,” Kiol’ad said, motioning for everyone to take their ease in the comfortable chairs.

“We are pleased to be guests of your people,” Talin opened.

“Likewise, we are pleased that you made the trip to our system to be our guests. We hope that you will enjoy your stay here. We have prepared rooms for you, and we would be honored to have you join us for dinner tonight,” Elin’ad offered.

“We are delighted to accept your gracious offer,” Talin replied.

“While we wait for dinner we could discuss your concerns,” I suggested.

Talin quickly shot me a look and ever so slightly shook his head ‘no’. Too soon to ask! I could hear his thoughts enter my mind clearly. Somewhat chagrined, I kept my peace and watched Talin handle the rest of the conversation. After a moment, it dawned on me that I had actually heard his thoughts. I looked over at him, working to keep the surprise off my face. He was looking intently at Kiol’ad and Elin’ad, and if he did notice my expression, he gave no indication.

“We mean no offense at the directness of Padawan Onasi’s question. She is merely eager to learn of any difficulties quickly so that we can provide aid as soon as possible,” Talin said, trying to smooth over any possible insult they may have taken at my apparent breach of diplomacy.

Kiol’ad smiled at us. “I fear Jedi Kayl may worry that we would somehow be offended at Padawan Onasi’s abruptness. Since we do not experience time in the strictly linear, unidirectional fashion that you do, it would not matter whether that question was asked now or in a hundred years.”

We digested that bit of information, trying to grasp the idea of a species that could experience life anywhere on the time continuum.

Kiol’ad continued, “However, for your sake and ours, it is best if we conducted our business with alacrity. In that, Padawan Onasi has rapidly opened the door of this discussion.”

A feeling of some vindication briefly flitted by, but I knew it would be short-lived. Talin did not show it, but I knew he was not happy, though I could sense he was relieved that it had turned out apparently well in spite of the potential problems my little comment could have created.

Kiol’ad motioned for Aklar’an, the scientists in the entourage, to speak. Both of the men had the same sparse brown hair the Kiol’ad had. “We need your help finding out what is causing time vortices to form in our system. We know the earliest ones occurred approximately 40-50 years ago, but they have increased dramatically in the last few months. Lately, the time swirls have been producing unusually large numbers of gravitophotons, and these particles are starting to slightly alter the gravity balance in our system. Already it may be causing our storms to become even more severe and more frequent. A protracted storm season could seriously affect our growing season. Since only the Unjoined are able to leave the planet and the vast majority of those are children or young adults awaiting the Joining process, we really have no one with adequate levels of education who can leave and study this phenomenon.”

“There is one Unjoined who conceivably could help us since he is a scientist. However, Dycen’a is, well, unstable, as often happens to our few adults who remain Unjoined with others. He has disappeared recently,” Kiol’ad added.
“How can we best help you, then?” Talin asked.

“We need you to go to the coordinates of the time vortices and research these phenomena. Since you are Force users, you may be able to sense the time signatures better than those who don’t perceive the universe as you do. If you also can determine the whereabouts of Dycen’a, we would be most grateful. We are very concerned for his safety.”

“Any information you have that we could review would be most helpful,” Jolee stated.

“We will download the information to your datapads,” Aklar’an stated. “This is the synopsis of the data that we have gathered over the past few months. Please, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.”

Izah’an apparently was in charge of making sure we were comfortable. The tall black-haired, dark-eyed men said, “Your quarters are ready for you. We have arranged for dinner to be served at 7 pm so that you have time to refresh yourselves after your long travels.”

We followed Izah’an to a suite of rooms that overlooked a courtyard filled with colorful plants and trees with palm-like fronds. Each of us had a bedroom that was larger than the multipurpose room on our ship. All three were filled with large, comfortable furnishings. The plush carpeting throughout the suite seemed to swallow the sound before it could even escape the deep pile. I put away my travel gear and fell backwards on the bed, stretching out on the luxurious linens, closing my eyes and exhaling in comfort.

There was a knock on the door, and before I could answer, Talin opened it slightly and popped his head in. His disapproving tone told me everything that his carefully controlled facial features did not.

“I would have a word with you in the main room,” he snapped. As abruptly as he had entered, he left.

Sighing, I reluctantly made my way out to the common room to face Talin.

Diego Varen
04-19-2006, 04:46 AM
An alright Chapter. Personally I prefer a bit more action but it's okay. Please check out my new Fanfic, Jedi Forces - Shadows Of War.

Renegade Puma
04-19-2006, 05:46 AM
Don't mind pottsie, he is just an action junkie. ;) I thought this was a great chapter Jae. You are setting up your plot very well. We all know that there has to be chapters that lay foundation rather than climb to the top of the skyscraper. I hope that Jae isn't in too much trouble with Talin. :( Keep up the great work. :)

Diego Varen
04-19-2006, 05:49 AM
Don't mind pottsie, he is just an action junkie. ;) I thought this was a great chapter Jae. You are setting up your plot very well. We all know that there has to be chapters that lay foundation rather than climb to the top of the skyscraper. I hope that Jae isn't in too much trouble with Talin. :( Keep up the great work. :)

I'm not an action junkie. Sometimes it's good to have a Chapter of talking. I just hope this Sith Lord appears soon.

Renegade Puma
04-19-2006, 10:02 AM
I'm not an action junkie. Sometimes it's good to have a Chapter of talking. I just hope this Sith Lord appears soon.


Lol! Spoken like a true action junkie going through withdraws. "I just hope this Sith lord appears SOON." ;) I'm just playing with ya pottsie. Don't take offense. :)

Char Ell
04-19-2006, 11:00 AM
What is Talin's problem, getting all snappish and stuff? Just because he wasn't the one who posed the question that got down to business he gets all huffy? If I was in Jae's shoes I would tell him, "Take a chill pill, hombre!"

Jae Onasi
04-19-2006, 12:31 PM
Thanks everyone!
@Pottsie--more action coming soon. I put in the sandstorm story to add a little action (and another Jolee story--any opportunity for that!), but some of what follows in the story won't make sense without some context on Li'adans and their planet. Plus, I wanted to try my hand at building a world and culture just to see if it works--I love how Anne McCaffrey's created this tremendous culture in her Dragonriders of Pern series. If I revised this, I'd change the timing a bit and probably move things along a little faster. However, I feel like writing the rest of the story rather than going back to alter some 65 pages of text. :) I'm in no particular hurry to get to the end, though I'd like to get the whole story out of my head finally! There is an endpoint but there's still a lot for Jolee and crew to do to get there.

No worries, though, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together for our little fearless crew of 4 (I have to include R4 in the count, you know).

@cutmeister--yep, Talin has a bit of an attitude problem to deal with. Jolee and Jae have their work cut out for them. :)

JediMaster12
04-20-2006, 05:22 PM
Nice work Jae. Interesting to find that an adult of that species could go insane from not joining. They have to join in order to survive and here we can't wait to get rid of the other. :D
Talin sounds like he needs an attitude adjustment and a serious dose of ego bashng so as to get his big head out of his you know whatis.
Eagerly waiting for more for nothing gets in the way of a good story :D

Hallucination
04-20-2006, 11:44 PM
If I was in Jae's shoes I would tell him, "Take a chill pill, hombre!"
I would have given him a bad case of 'lightsabre-blade-through-the-head-itis', but that's just me. :)
Another great chapter Jae, keep it up! :)

Jae Onasi
04-21-2006, 03:46 PM
For the adrenaline junkies. :)


Chapter 14: Dycen’a

Standing as tall as my height would allow, I walked calmly into the main room of the suite, trying to keep a serene look on my face. Remain calm, I reminded myself.

Talin was walking slowly back and forth, the index finger of one hand casually tapping the side of his broad jaw, the other hand resting across his chest and holding onto the opposite elbow. He had regained some of the control over his anger, but his eyes still flashed their displeasure.

“What do you think you were doing there? What possessed you to ask for potentially sensitive material like it was just a cup of tea?” he demanded, waving his hands around for emphasis.

“Trying to get information. Apparently, you seem to think that I nearly brought us to the brink of intergalactic war by simply asking for a little data. It just seemed right to ask them then.” I stood with hands on hips and kept up a determined look.

“‘It just seemed right?’ So you’re now an expert in first-contact diplomacy?” His tone was scathing.

“I am keenly aware that I don’t have the same diplomatic expertise that you do, but I did happen to pick up a few things in the Queen’s Court. She expects courtesy and discretion from the people who serve her. So yes, I have developed a bit of skill, and yes, I could sense that it ‘just seemed right’ at that point,” I retorted.

“What if you offended them by being so abrupt? Were you ready for the consequences? We don’t know what could make them angry and we sure don’t know what they’d do if they did become angry. You might be willing to put yourself or even me at risk, but I can’t believe you’d be willing to put Jolee in danger,” he said with an edge to his voice.

My mouth dropped open in surprise. “I would never do anything to put either of you in danger. What is your problem? Somehow, I can’t believe that you’re angry just because you didn’t get first crack at asking for that information.” I narrowed my eyes, and I sensed something deeper disturbing him. “There is something….” His mind snapped shut as he realized I could sense his feelings.

Jolee sauntered into the room, and seeing both of us sporting dark looks, decided a little advice was in order. “You both need to get control of yourselves. We’re guests. Your voices may be carrying to places farther than you expect.” He looked up at the ceiling briefly and circled a finger around as if pointing out hidden monitors.

Both of us realized at once we had forgotten that it was highly likely that our suite was being watched. That realization cooled our tempers as quickly as a Hoth winter.

Jolee went on dispassionately, “Jae, Talin was leading our team, you should have followed that lead. First contacts can be tricky and things can go very wrong, very fast. You’ll learn more just observing Talin than you will from any holovids on diplomacy. Watch him and learn. Talin, you need to look at this situation for what it is, not what it could have been. Things don’t always go as planned. Fortunately, it worked out just fine. Now I’d like you two to get over whatever it is that’s getting under your skins.”

I looked over at Talin and decided to swallow some pride. “Jolee’s right, I shouldn’t have jumped in, and I hope you can forgive me.”

“And I shouldn’t have snapped. It was neither kind nor professional.” He exhaled the irritation.

Jolee seemed satisfied. “Good. That’s over. I hate it when you young people have spats. It gives me a headache. Now, Talin, something’s bothering you, and I’d really like to know what’s got your shorts in knots.”

Talin sat down on the edge of one of the chairs and rested his elbows on his knees. “I made the same mistake Jae did one time—jumped in too early on some delicate negotiations. My master and I were trying to work out some differences between two families. When I asked what I thought was an innocent question, one of the families got very upset and accused the other family of hiring us to take their side. A fight broke out right there at the table. My simple interruption caused the escalation of a family feud for about eight years. A number of people died, and it’s something I have to live with the rest of my life. I don’t wish that burden on anyone. I can’t make those kinds of mistakes again.” he finished, his somber eyes connecting with mine.

I caught the shadow of pain that they held because of the feud.

“Lad, we all make mistakes, sometimes bad ones. The Force isn’t going to keep us from doing something idiotic from time to time. One of the hardest things to learn is how to forgive ourselves when we do something wrong,” Jolee advised.

“Believe me, I know,” Talin replied.

Jolee said, “Fine. Maybe you can pay attention to my advice, then. Let’s go get ready for dinner.”


*****

“That should do for the dinner,” Talin said when I came out from my room in a dress rather than the more sedate Jedi robes.

“Glad you approve.” I couldn’t quite suppress the irony, but I smiled a bit to take out the sting.

“What Talin’s trying hard not to say is that you look lovely,” Jolee said with a wink.

A chime at the door indicated some of our hosts arrived. Izah’an smiled as they entered the room and saw us prepared for their dinner.

“We are so delighted that you are joining us. I must say, Padawan Onasi, that your dress is quite elegant and sets off your features perfectly,” they said. “Please follow us.”

“Now they know how to give a compliment,” Jolee looked sideways at Talin, elbowing him.

We headed out towards the center of the small city, which was only a short walk away. Izah’an pointed out various interesting sights and entertained us with little stories of the people and history. Looking up at the sky, I noted to everyone, “Looks like the clouds are getting really dark out there. I wonder how bad the storm will be.”

Izah’an looked up through the clear ceiling, assessing the quickly gathering dark clouds and flashing lightning with an experienced eye. “It looks like it may be a bad one, but our building designs are more than sufficient to protect us, I assure you.”

“You can hear the wind starting to howl even through the heavy walls,” Talin observed.

“It will be loud for about fifteen minutes, but this is a very fast moving storm. It should be over in about a half hour,” Izah’an said. “With luck, we’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air during our dinner.”

“Oh, I’m not concerned, I enjoy a good storm,” I grinned.

“Then Li’adin will not disappoint you,” Izah’an said with a smile.

We turned and entered a long corridor.

“Uh-oh,” Jolee stopped. “I think we just found that darkness. There go our dinner plans again.”

A Li’adan in some dark robes stood alone in the corridor. The flashing lightning reflected off his face, giving him a malevolent look. In one fluid movement, his hand moved to a spot in his robe, and suddenly a lightsaber snapped on, its orange blade hissing.

“My master will be pleased to hear that I found you. He was very unhappy when he learned that his prized holocron had been stolen by some common slaves and then fell into the hands of some Jedi. I’ll be delighted to bring back not only the holocron but your heads as well.”

Izah’an gasped. “Dycen’a! We’ve been looking all over for you! We’ve been terribly worried something had happened. Please, put down the weapon.”

Dycen’a sneered, “I’ve been with my Master, learning my true potential as a Single. That’s not something our leaders ever discuss us losing when we Join with others.”

Izah’an pleaded with him, “You can’t mean that. Aklar’an was meant for you and you for them. They need you to be fully complete, and you need them.”

“I can and do mean that. Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to be Separate? I determine my own destiny. I will use this power to show others what it’s like to be Separate and not limited by the silly beliefs of the Triads. I will free all of us and lead us into a new way of life,” Dycen’a said.

He drew himself up tall with superiority and smirked at us.

“Dycen’a, listen to yourself. This isn’t sane talk.”

“I’ve already convinced many Singles that they should experience their full power and not have it watered down by Joining. I would help all Triads and Diads to see their true potential as Singles. Once you are Separate, you will understand and join me.”

“Many of us would die if Separated,” Izah’an said, shocked at what Dycen’a was saying.

“So they would. No matter. Those of you strong enough to survive would find your lives improved. Your only choice right now, Izah’an, is whether you will join me and live or whether you’ll stay with these Jedi and get struck down after I destroy them,” Dycen’a warned them, malice in his voice.

Jolee spoke up. “Dycen’a, we don’t want to fight. You’re not strong enough in the Force to survive a battle with us.”

He said it without an ounce of pride. Dycen’a was strong in the dark side, but not enough to take on Jolee, much less the three of us combined.

Izah’an’s primary made a move to call for help on his comlink. Before he could say a word, the orange lightsaber flicked across the corridor, and he suddenly fell to the ground in agony, the comlink and several of his fingers gone. The blade turned and hit the second man. The lightsaber just glanced off him, hitting the side of his face and shoulder, but it was enough to cause serious injury. The second of the twosome collapsed next to his primary. The mental anguish from his primary was so loud I had to put up an immediate block.

Jolee, keeping his eyes on Dycen’a, said, “Jae, take care of Izah’an. We can handle this.”

I didn’t need any further encouragement to help them, and concentrated on easing the pain of the injured duo.

Dycen’a closed to attack Jolee and Talin, lightsaber blazing to match the fierce lightning flaring overhead. He struck from above, slamming his blade down savagely towards Jolee’s head. Jolee’s blade caught it with ease, and he deflected it down and away. Talin, seeing the opening, counterattacked with a slash to his midsection. Dycen’a dodged at the last moment before unleashing a fierce flurry of blows that kept Jolee and Talin busy parrying and counterstriking for a time.

Talin seemed to learn his opponent’s technique with every move he made, however, and began anticipating Dycen’a’s moves. He quickly gained control of the fight, and in a blur of speed delivered a number of blows with dangerous grace that Dycen’a could barely deflect in time. Jolee threw in some probing attacks, pressing Dycen’a back, watching intently for the opening in Dycen’a’s defense that would finish the battle. Dycen’a retreated against the onslaught and finally ran out of room, back to a wall.

Talin held the tip of his lightsaber millimeters from Dycen’a’s chest. “Drop your lightsaber, now,” he ordered.

Dycen’a’s eyes lasered their hate through Talin and Jolee. “Fine,” he snarled, deactivating his lightsaber and tossing it away in rage.

I breathed a sigh of relief that both Jedi were unhurt.

“Are you going to come with us quietly?” Jolee asked.

“I’ll go. But not quietly.” He jumped a good 5 meters into the air, well out of range of Jolee or Talin’s lightsabers, flipped over in the air, and landed. He willed his lightsaber to fly to his hand and then took off running towards us, Talin and Jolee in pursuit.

Standing to protect Izah’an, I ignited my lightsaber.

“You can’t escape, Dycen’a. There’s nowhere else to go,” I said to him calmly.

Izah’an’s primary stood holding his hand, hoping to convince Dycen’a to give up the fight.

His eyes narrowed and his lips thinned into a smug smile. “Of course there is,” he said in a dangerously quiet voice.

I realized what he was thinking just before he threw the lightsaber at the ceiling, creating a jagged circle in the clear plasteel. I dove over the more injured half of Izah’an to shield him from any falling objects. The wind roared furiously as a hole ripped open in the ceiling, debris suddenly flying everywhere. It nearly lifted me off the ground, and I could hardly breathe as it sucked the air out of my lungs. My hair flailed my face and I held onto it with one hand to keep it from lashing my eyes. An alarm sounded because of the breach, but I couldn’t hear it over the furor. I looked over towards Dycen’a, who jumped through the hole to escape.

A gust blew Izah’an’s primary right after him. Talin grabbed for Izah’an’s feet as they were blown by, but he couldn’t reach them in time. He jumped after Izah’an to rescue him. Jolee, crouched low and bent against the wind, ran to where I was half-kneeling, half-lying. He held onto the two of us and tried to cover more of the injured man. Time crawled, and then sped up again as a number of hands grabbed all three of us, placed us in a transport, and sped off towards the infirmary, sealing the corridor behind us until the storm could pass. Wiping the grit from my eyes and pushing the tangled mess of hair back off my face, I looked over at both Izah’an’s second and Jolee to assess for any more injuries.

Jolee caught my look of concern. “I’m fine. Don’t think he is, though. What have we got going here?”

“He’s been hit in the face and shoulder. I don’t think the facial injuries were bad, but the shoulder wound is deep and may have hit some vital structures,” I noted clinically.

“You’ve got it OK? As soon as this storm dies down a little more, I have to go with the search teams to look for Talin and those two Li’adans.”

I nodded. “I’ll work with their medical people and get him fixed up.”

***

Washing my hands after I was satisfied that Izah’an’s second was stable and healing well, I was alerted to the approach of an emergency team by the clamor of rattling equipment and their loud voices giving treatment instructions. I cocked my head to listen and heard the controlled urgency in their speech that indicated the situation was likely critical. The doors to the infirmary burst open, two teams rolling in two stretchers, Jolee following behind closely with a grim expression on his dirt-smeared face. He caught my eyes and a sick feeling filled my stomach.

“Oh, no,” was all I could whisper, despair welling up.

JediMaster12
04-21-2006, 05:31 PM
You're just as bad as me with my leaving you guys hanging :D
PLEASE don't tell me Talin died! I could understand if it was one of the Triads or something like that.
The whole thing with Jae in a dress, isn't that a violation of the Jedi Code? I thought Jedi could only wear robes and tunics. I smelled romance in the air :D
As always a great chapter and full of adrenaline. I think it would be enough for the junkies :lol:

Jae Onasi
04-21-2006, 06:07 PM
:D
I promise to write the next chapter fast so you can find out. ;)

I figured if Princess Leia can wear a dress, then so can any other female Jedi. Or she just bent the rules a bit in deference to it being a first contact situation. Actually, I just like the dress idea so I decided to write it in anyway. :)
I never thought they were required to wear robes, I just thought they did so for convenience sake--sturdy, easy to move in, useful for any type of weather. The plainness is just so they won't draw attention to themselves. I figured in the appropriate situation they might dress differently, though I imagine many Jedi would view the robe as a mark of their membership in the Order and would want to wear it most of the time.

Sigh, my kitty had to have surgery today--he's been in the animal hospital since Tuesday and wasn't getting better, but the surgery seems to have solved the problem. It's been a little anxious in my house the last few days since he's 14 years old and bad things can happen to cats that old. But they think he'll come out of it OK.

Hallucination
04-21-2006, 08:16 PM
I figured if Princess Leia can wear a dress, then so can any other female Jedi.

Princess Leia never actually was a jedi. :)
Sigh, my kitty had to have surgery today--he's been in the animal hospital since Tuesday and wasn't getting better, but the surgery seems to have solved the problem. It's been a little anxious in my house the last few days since he's 14 years old and bad things can happen to cats that old. But they think he'll come out of it OK.
I hope your cat turns out fine. :)
But I have a question for you: if buttered toast always lands on the buttered side, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you tape buttered toast on the back of cat and give him a little toss? :D

Jae Onasi
04-21-2006, 09:02 PM
Princess Leia never actually was a jedi. :)

I hope your cat turns out fine. :)
But I have a question for you: if buttered toast always lands on the buttered side, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you tape buttered toast on the back of cat and give him a little toss? :D

I thought she did her training later in the EU stuff. I could be wrong. :)

Thanks. They said he's sleeping and doing OK.

The toast thing--depends if you tape the toast butter side up or down. :D

Char Ell
04-22-2006, 01:54 AM
Ah-hah! So the phantom menace has revealed itself (pun intended :D). A good cliffhanger on the end of that chapter. IMO, every writer is entitled to use cliffhangers in their story simply because it's a good way to get their readers to come back and read more, heh-heh-heh. :smirk2:

I too thought Leia became a Jedi some time after the death of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine. I've only read the EU's Thrawn trilogy and Leia used a lightsaber and trained her force skills in those three books.

Hallucination
04-22-2006, 02:23 AM
But that was before the Jedi Order was reformed, and when it was reformed she too busy in politics to train, so she never was a real Jedi.

Renegade Puma
04-22-2006, 02:06 PM
Great chapter Jae. Actually... It was an amazing chapter! I know Talin isn't dead or going to die yet because Jae dreamed of the three of them fighting the Sith Lord whom they have yet to meet. Very well written action scenes though. Keep up the great work yo!

Char Ell
04-22-2006, 02:34 PM
But that was before the Jedi Order was reformed, and when it was reformed she too busy in politics to train, so she never was a real Jedi.From the Star Wars databank (http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/leiaorganasolo/?id=eu):
Though Leia stepped away from public office, she still remained a valuable member of the New Republic hierarchy. Her relief efforts during the Yuuzhan Vong crisis are well known. The mother of full-grown Jedi Knights, Leia still brandishes her lightsaber and Jedi heritage, though she readily admits regret that her political career had interfered with her early Jedi training. So yeah, it sounds like you're right. Leia never became a full-fledged Jedi.

Diego Varen
04-22-2006, 02:38 PM
A great Chapter. A lot of discussion between Jolee, Jae and Talin. Jolee still is funny as always. Anyway, looking foward to the next Chapter.

Jae Onasi
04-22-2006, 06:25 PM
But that was before the Jedi Order was reformed, and when it was reformed she too busy in politics to train, so she never was a real Jedi.

Ah well.
Still, I can't imagine that Jedi would be absolutely required to wear only robes. I imagine they would use them the vast majority of the time, but now and then we girls do like to dress up just a little. :)
Call it creative license then. :D

Kitty is doing much better today. He was very happy to see me, purred and meowed (something he hadn't been doing at all the last few days, even for me, and I'm his buddy), acted like he wanted to go home (instead of laying in the cage sick and scared) and actually ate some food while I was there. My other cat, who is very sweet but dumber than a box of rocks, finally realized last night that she hadn't seen Higgins in awhile, after he'd been out of the house nearly 4 days.

The Source
04-23-2006, 07:14 PM
Jolee Bindo will never be seen in the same way again.. I like how you treated his story, and you have captured his character. Wow... Nice Job! :)

Jae Onasi
04-24-2006, 02:53 AM
Chapter 15: The Emergency

My heart stopped for a moment.

Only two stretchers, not three....

Izah’an’s first was in the main stretcher, moaning in pain. The other unconscious man was under an oxygen breath mask and covered in blood, mud, and equipment. The flood of relief I felt when I saw it was Talin was tempered by great concern when I realized he was seriously injured. One of the emergency workers held up the infusion bag that had a line running from it to Talin’s arm and another held on to some equipment as they rushed past the doors. I quickly joined Jolee as he followed the stretchers into the emergency area.

“What happened?” I asked him, watching the emergency teams transferring both men to the brightly lit treatment bays and hooking up monitors and instruments. The alarms for critical values started sounding from the monitors in Talin’s bay. The med team scurried around setting up equipment, taking samples, and doing the initial scans to find all the injuries. They spoke back and forth with clipped voices edged in worry.

We walked briskly towards him, and Jolee filled me in. “When we found them, he was curled up around Izah’an’s first. Talin must have caught him right after they blew out of the corridor. The storm carried them some distance, and they hit a building about eight meters up—you could see the marks on the wall. They fell down the side, and Izah’an’s first landed hard on top of him. I’ve done some healing just to get him to this point, but we’re going to have to work together to stabilize him.”

I scanned the displays and watched the values scroll. “Oh, Force, these are bad,” I said, after seeing nothing but critical numbers.

Jolee laid a hand on my shoulder. “Stay calm. Getting adrenaline-addled isn’t going to help him. He’s the one with the problem, not you. I know this isn’t the first time you’ve been through something like this.”

The flashbacks returned with a vengeance. The explosion. Roben on the ground. Cradling his head and trying to heal him. Seeing his spirit leave. I closed my eyes and shook my head, trying to clear the images.

“Look at me, Jae,” Jolee commanded. I had no choice but to comply. He looked in my soul for a moment and then caught my eyes. “He’s not Roben. Talin’s got more than a chance, as long as you don’t keep standing there gawking at the past. Now, move. Focus. You’re a professional, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

I took a deep breath, recited the Jedi code to calm myself, and stepped into the controlled chaos in Talin’s bay.

Talin labored to make even a shallow breath. Bandages were stained bright red, and his leg was lying at an abnormal angle on the bed. One of the Li’adans finished the scan and put the results up on the monitor. Tarm’ad, the triad of doctors who was treating Talin, looked over the images, which showed a number of injuries ranging from the most serious to very minor.

Jolee pointed at the images of Talin’s fractured spine and collapsed lung. “We have to heal those before he can go into the kolto.”

Tarm’ad said, “All the tanks are in use right now, and there’s no one we can pull out at the moment.” They called over a duo. “Eron’an, tell surgery to be ready for two cases.”

“Jolee, if you can work on his collapsed lung, I’ll tackle the internal bleeding and that spine fracture,” I said.

When Tarm’ad looked momentarily confused, Jolee explained, “We’re going to heal the most serious injuries as long as our Force powers hold out to try and get him stable.”

“He’ll have a better chance of surviving if he still needs surgery after we’re done,” I added.

“Just tell me what you need and when,” Tarm’ad said. “While you’re doing that, we’ll work on putting his shoulder back in place and sealing all those deep lacerations.”

“Fix the breathing and the bleeding, I always say,” Jolee said.

He started concentrating on healing Talin’s collapsed lung while I worked on bringing the torn edges of the artery together, ‘watching’ them heal from the inside out.

“Bleeding’s stopped,” I told Jolee.

Jolee nearly had Talin’s lung healed when he regained consciousness, dark eyelashes fluttering against his ghostly pale skin. I had to drop out of the healing meditation to calm him when he started moving around.

“Heart rate’s spiking,” Eron’an said. His heart was beating dangerously fast from shock.

“Sedate him. Now,” Tarm’ad ordered.

I leaned in close to him and gently put my hand on his. “Talin, you’re hurt bad. We’re healing you right now. Hold still for us.”

He nodded slightly and closed his eyes again.

“Talin, hang on just a little longer. I’m almost there,” Jolee said.

Alarms went off as Talin gave a little shudder and stopped breathing.

“His heart rate and BP just bottomed out. We’re losing him,” Eron’an announced.

“Damn it, Talin, don’t you give up now. I’m almost done fixing that lung,” Jolee said. “Jae, go get that boy. Tell him I said he’s too damn young to die.”

I closed my eyes in meditation and drifted over to that dark, quiet between-world. The shadow-valley between life and death strips the soul to its essence. There are no masked emotions, no lies, and I felt a sudden roiling of my feelings as I looked around, anxious to find him and bring him back before it was too late.

“Talin,” I called out, finally seeing him.

He looked around, the confusion coloring his aura.

I walked up to him. “Talin, come back to us. You can’t leave.”

He pointed towards that warm, bright light, “They don’t seem ready to take me just yet, but I want to be with them. People I love are there. It hurts too much where I was, and I can’t go on anymore.”

“Jolee says you’re too damn young to die.”

Talin smiled, but his eyes kept their weary look. “Jolee’s a funny man. No one’s too young to die. Children die. Babies die.”

“But we still need you here with us. Don’t let go,” I urged.

“There are other Jedi.”

“Not other Jedi like you, Talin. You’re special. And you’re our friend.”

He looked over at me, surprised. “I thought you were angry with me and didn’t care.”

“Frustrated is a better word. Friends get frustrated with each other sometimes. Yes, I do care about you.”

“It’s more than frustration. You use that to keep me away.”

I didn’t want to answer, but I was afraid he’d let go if I didn’t keep talking to him to draw him back.

“I’m scared,” I said after some time. “Every one I’ve ever loved has died. My parents are gone. When Roben died, I felt like my soul was ripped in half. If I love, I lose, and I don’t want to feel that way ever again. Now you’re trying to leave, too. Jolee and I will do everything we can to heal you, but you’re the only one who can decide to return.”

“I didn’t know you felt that way.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone before. So what’s your reason?”

He tilted his head, confused. “What do you mean?”

“That arrogance. You’re only that way with me.”

“Because you’re beautiful, talented, and have a strength of will I’ll never have. I have feelings I never imagined having, and I’m not sure what to do. Keeping you at arm’s length keeps us both safe. I don’t want to put either of us in a difficult situation. But I don’t think it will matter now, anyway.” He turned towards the beckoning light, slipping fast.

“Talin Kayl, you just look at me right now,” I commanded, the sharpness in my voice surprising even me. He looked back to me, silent. I continued, “You have to fight this and come back to us. You’re too strong to run from life when it gets hard. Besides, Jolee would miss you a lot, and so would I. Maybe it’s selfish, but we want you in our world.”

He gave me a small smile. “You’re starting to sound like him.”

“He grows on you after awhile.”

He smiled wider. “Like a fungus.”

“I’ll make a pact with you. When we get back and you’re well, we’ll both deal with our problems. I’ll stop pushing everyone away when they get close if you’ll drop the condescension.”

He mulled over his options.

I hardly dared to breathe as he tried to make his decision. I held out my hand to him. “Come with me, please. I’ll help you get back.”

“It’s going to hurt a lot when I go back, isn’t it?”

When I heard him use ‘when’ instead of ‘if’, I allowed the tiniest bit of relief to trickle through me.

“It will, but not for too long. We’re trying to do everything we can to get you healed fast. I’ll stay with you as long as you need.”

He took hold of my hand, and I smiled as the relief flooded in.

“I’m going to hold you to that pact,” Talin said, and we walked away from the darkness together.

The change from the silent, dim netherworld to the glaring lights and cacophony of monitor alarms and loud talking was jarring, and I snapped out of the meditation.

Ilan’an called out, “He’s breathing again, rapid and shallow.”

“Glad you got him back, Jae. Lung’s healed; I’m going to tackle some of those other fractures.”

Tarm’ad listened to Talin’s breathing. They looked almost amazed in their pleasure. “Lung sounds are much better.”

“Heart rate’s a good sinus rhythm. BP and O2 sats are coming back up towards normal,” said Eron’an.

“Better,” I said, breathing out a bit in relief. “I’ll work on the vertebrae now.”

“You used a ton of energy trying to get him to come back. You burn yourself out trying to heal him completely and I’ll be very upset,” Jolee said, looking up from his work to make sure he had my complete attention.

“I’ll stop before I exhaust myself.”

I meditated and brought the edges of the vertebrae back into alignment. The fracture lines filled in and set. Jolee and I worked on the rest of the injuries until I was shaking from the effort to use the last of my Force strength.

He looked up as we finished the work on Talin’s broken bones. “You’re done. Sit down before you fall down.”

I sank into the chair and looked over the monitors. Some of the values were now out of critical ranges and moving back to normal. “He’s starting to stabilize, Jolee.”

“Looks like he’s not going to need surgery, either,” Tarm’ad said, looking over the latest scans. “All the major injuries are healed. Impressive.”

The decrease in everyone’s intensity level was almost palpable. The staff moved briskly instead of frantically, and the volume of the noise dropped to a more normal level.

“Nice job,” Jolee clapped me on the shoulder and then caught me when I nearly tipped off the chair. “You’re beat. Stay here while I go check on Izah’an.” He washed up and walked over to the other bay.

Talin started to stir and tried to remove the oxygen mask. I took his hand and held onto it gently to keep him from taking it off. He was too weak to pull away to reach his face.

“Talin, leave the mask on, you need the oxygen right now. You’ve been hurt badly, but you’re going to be OK,” I reassured him. “They’re pulling glass out of your back, so you have to hold still.”

He settled down, not making a move to remove his hand from mine.

Jolee returned to us after some time and noticed Talin was more responsive.

“How’s our favorite patient?” Jolee said, looking down at him.

“I feel terrible,” Talin said weakly, his voice barely above a whisper.

“You look terrible, too,” Jolee said, “but you’re past the worst of it. They only have to pick out that glass now. Just how many windows did you crash through?”

Talin mustered the energy for a half-chuckle before it quickly turned to a wince, “Oh, it hurts to laugh. One or two. Izah’an?”

“You did a good job protecting him. He’s going to be just fine. He had a couple of broken bones and a concussion, but he wasn’t nearly as bad off as you were. You broke pretty much everything you can break.”

“Hit several buildings hard. Last fall got me.”

“Jolee, what happened to Dycen’a?” I asked, looking over at him.

“The Li’adans think he was swept away in the storm and likely died. I’m not so sure. We would have found something by now if he’d been killed. I think he’s somehow survived and is hiding. However, he’s not anywhere near here right now, or we’d feel it. It’s going to make a very interesting report for the Council, that’s for sure.”

Kiol’ad and Elin’ad entered the infirmary, worried looks mirrored on all their faces. They conferred with Damen’ad and Tarm’ad to get a report on all the patients and then came to speak with us. Tarm’ad returned to the task of finding and removing all the glass and debris from Talin.

I joined them in that task, taking gauze to clean some of the facial wounds of the debris.

“You don’t have to do that. I can wash my own face,” Talin said, embarrassed at being unable to do the simplest tasks but too weak to stop me from helping.

“I’m making sure you don’t have anything stuck in these cuts. Besides, you’ll be a lot more comfortable if you don’t have all this grit and dirt drying on your skin. Now you just rest and let me do my job.”

“All right,” he said, closing his eyes.

Kiol’ad came in, and seeing Talin with his eyes shut, said quietly, “We heard the good news that Jedi Kayl will recover.”

Talin heard them, opened his eyes, and tried to raise his head.

“Talin, hold still, please,” I said to him. “Tarm’ad’s still working. Jolee will take care of things for you.”

Elin’ad smiled gently, saying, “We don’t worry about protocol and negotiations in the infirmary.”

Jolee said, “We’re glad Izah’an made it, too. I was concerned when he was blown out the window. That storm was unbelievable.”

Tarm’ad looked up from their work. “We don’t know if Izah’an would have survived without both Jedi helping with their healing. We’ve learned some very interesting treatment techniques.”

Kiol’ad looked at both of us and said, “We’re thankful to have you here and grateful for all your help. When everything has settled a bit, we’d like to hear what happened in more detail, especially about Dycen’a. Is there anything you need?”

Jolee looked over at me. “I think my Padawan needs to go change.”

I had one of the disposable ER gowns on over my outfit, which had been stained with blood and dirt. I realized I was starting to feel the chill of the damp dress.

“I didn’t notice,” I said, looking down at it for the first time since before the attack.

Jolee noted dryly, “I gathered that. You really have to stop dressing up in evening gowns when you go heal.”

I wrinkled my nose to make a face at him for that quip.

Ilan’an brought some scrubs for me. “Please, take these. You need something dry until you can get back to your quarters.”

I made a move to let go of Talin’s hand to go change when he abruptly gripped mine tightly. “Please, don’t go,” he pleaded. “I don’t want to be alone right now.”

Looking down at him, I saw the vulnerability in his exhausted face and felt his fear at coming too close to death. I smiled, gently squeezing his hand back.
“We won’t leave you alone. I’ll be right back, I promise. Jolee will stay with you while I change,” I reassured him.

Talin let go reluctantly. I changed and returned quickly.

“I think he’s asleep,” Jolee said quietly, nodding towards Talin. “Elin’ad is going to take me back to our suite so that I can clean up and change. I can’t stand smelling like bantha schutta. Then I’m going to have a little chat with Kiol’ad and Elin’ad. They need to know about Dycen’a training as a dark Jedi. I shouldn’t be too long. Call me on the comlink if something happens.”
He turned and left with the Triad leaders.

“Well, now we’ve got all that glass,” Tarm’ad said, satisfied at the work.

They spread an anti-infective over his back and then covered it with a large dressing. Talin woke up from the cold of the medication.

“They’re done now, Talin,” I said.

He nodded in relief, but he reached for my hand for reassurance anyway.

“You’re going to be just fine. I’ll stay with you as long as you need.” I said, giving his hand a slight squeeze.

He finally relaxed completely and fell into a deep sleep, breathing evenly. I sat down in a chair next to his bed to keep a vigil.

* * *

“Jae, wake up,” Jolee said in a subdued voice. “You neck is going to get stuck like that.”

His eyes still managed to crinkle in amusement, though the fatigue remained from all the healing and fighting he had done earlier.

Rubbing the gritty feeling from my eyes, I lifted my head up from the top of the chair. Apparently, I had been in that position for quite some time, because my neck was nearly fused from stiffness. I rotated my head a bit to loosen up the muscles, and remembering where I was, looked immediately over at Talin’s bed to assess his condition.

Jolee followed my eyes over to him. “He’s improving quite a bit. Looks like all his vital signs have stabilized in the normal ranges. He’s sure got a death grip on your hand, though.”

“He was scared. I guess he felt he needed to hold onto something familiar.”

Jolee patted my shoulder a couple times. “You’re a good lass. Sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that mean the most to our friends. It reminds me of Nayama’s cocoa chip cookies. Which reminds me of food, which you haven’t had in awhile.”

I looked over at Talin, who was in a deep sleep, recovering nicely. My stomach gave me away by growling loudly. “I suppose I could eat a little something and nap while he’s asleep.”

“Of course you can eat and sleep,” Jolee snorted, “because I’m going to sit here by Talin and make you rest. Heh, you know, this Jedi master thing grows on me. It’s kind of fun ordering around you young people.”

I could only manage a tired smile at his wit. I relinquished my chair and sat down at the little table where he’d left a small dinner tray.

He said, “Nayama used to take the finest Ithorian cocoa chips—best in the galaxy, maybe the universe—and make these cookies. They were the finest smelling cookies, but they tasted just awful.” He scrunched up his face in distaste. “In fact, she was a terrible cook. Somehow, she managed to burn or ruin just about any dish she touched. I had to learn how to cook in self-defense or I would have starved. She loved those cookies, however, so I always ate a couple and encouraged her to make more.”

“If you didn’t like them, why did you want her to make more?”

“Because every time she made them, she’d bring me a plate and put a little kiss right here on my head,” he said, pointing to the center of his forehead. “She never did that with any other dish she made. I would have eaten a bucket of bolts to get that little forehead kiss. It was a tiny thing, but it meant a lot to me. It was one of the ways she showed me she loved me. I bet you’ve had some little thing like that that meant a lot to you.”

“Roben and I had this little hand signal we’d give each other to say ‘I love you’. We weren’t always able to speak to each other in the Court if we were busy with our particular duties, but we could make our little sign to each other subtly enough that it wasn’t noticeable to anyone else. And my housemother, Telma, had this little couch in her office where could sit. If we had a bad day, she’d come sit down on that couch next to us, put her arm around us, and give a little motherly squeeze. It didn’t matter how bad the situation was, that little hug somehow seemed to make everything all right.”

“Heh, Telma sounds like a fine woman.”

Talin gave out a short sigh. Both Jolee and I looked over towards him. I scanned the monitors quickly for any abnormal readings and was relieved when they continued to remain normal. When I looked back at him again, his eyes were open slightly and he appeared to be in no distress. His lips turned up slightly, which was as much energy as he could muster for a smile.

His voice was barely above a whisper as he asked, “Do you people ever stop talking long enough for a guy to sleep?”

Diego Varen
04-24-2006, 03:01 AM
As I ate, he related his little cookie story. “Nayama used to take the finest Ithorian cocoa chips—best in the galaxy, maybe the universe—and make these cookies. They were the finest smelling cookies, but they tasted just awful.” He scrunched up his face in distaste. “In fact, she was a terrible cook. Somehow she managed to burn or ruin just about any dish she touched. I had to learn how to cook in self-defense, or I would have starved. She loved those cookies, however, so I always ate a couple, and encouraged her to make more.”

I liked what Jolee said there. Perfect comedy. I didn't know if Talin would survive, but with Jae and her healing powers, he'll be fine. Another good Chapter.

Jae Onasi
04-24-2006, 03:06 AM
Man, are you fast on the keyboard. I posted it I think 8 minutes prior to your post. :D

Thanks. Jolee's quips are fun to do.

JediMaster12
04-24-2006, 05:15 PM
Yes your Jolee dialogues are as always funny Jae. It was a Bindo moment with Jolee explaining about life. Reminds me of his lecture on love *sigh* the memories :lol:
Nice turn of events Jae with Talin. I hope this calls for something more in the future? :D

Hallucination
04-24-2006, 08:34 PM
And here I was hoping Talin would die... :(
Yet another Jae-tastic chapter, keep it up!
P.S. Were you hungry when you wrote this?

Jae Onasi
04-24-2006, 11:58 PM
And here I was hoping Talin would die... :(
Yet another Jae-tastic chapter, keep it up!
P.S. Were you hungry when you wrote this?

That's OK, Jae will keep Talin in line when he decides to get a little uppity. Besides, near-death experiences have a strange way of altering one's life.

I wasn't hungry, but Jae was. ;P


@JM12--I won't disappoint you. :)

Char Ell
04-25-2006, 10:24 AM
I wonder how long Talin will be bed-ridden? This could give Jae and Jolee an opportunity to check out things on their own.

Renegade Puma
04-25-2006, 10:30 AM
Great chapter Jae. Geez I can only say that so many times and I think I am at my limit. Maybe you should give all the rest of our fics a break and write a sub-par chapter? Eh? Yeah didn't think so. Keep up the great work. I can't wait for the Jalin relationship to blossom.

Jae Onasi
04-25-2006, 02:23 PM
Great chapter Jae. Geez I can only say that so many times and I think I am at my limit. Maybe you should give all the rest of our fics a break and write a sub-par chapter? Eh? Yeah didn't think so. Keep up the great work. I can't wait for the Jalin relationship to blossom.

I am constitutionally unable to do anything half-way. :) As a personality trait it's both a blessing and a curse. It's extremely difficult for me to say "OK, that's not perfect, but it's 'perfect enough'."

@cutmeister--I hadn't thought about keeping Talin in recovery mode to let the other 2 go out alone, but that's an interesting possibility. I have the overall outline (along with a page of Jolee quips and little snips of stories I want him to tell) and I try to fit each chapter into that outline to keep it moving in the right direction. However, the chapters themselves are pretty fluid during creation.

JediMaster12
04-26-2006, 02:29 AM
Yeah and that is why the chapters are so good. I'll be waiting for the next chapter . Patience is my virtue :D

Renegade Puma
04-26-2006, 10:03 AM
Everyone listen to me! Jae is a Dark Lord of the Sith! She is leading us all down the dark path with her excellent plot and her masterful story telling! Can't you see it? She has us all in a daze. I am fighting it hard but I can only snap out of this hypnosis every now and then for a minute or so. So I am writing this to you in hopes of breaking us all free one day. Uh oh.... here it comes again..... AGhh!!!! Must go back to reading.... Jae's..... story..... *Transmission ends*

Diego Varen
04-26-2006, 11:50 AM
Everyone listen to me! Jae is a Dark Lord of the Sith! She is leading us all down the dark path with her excellent plot and her masterful story telling! Can't you see it? She has us all in a daze. I am fighting it hard but I can only snap out of this hypnosis every now and then for a minute or so. So I am writing this to you in hopes of breaking us all free one day. Uh oh.... here it comes again..... AGhh!!!! Must go back to reading.... Jae's..... story..... *Transmission ends*

I think we all want the next Chapter. ASAP for Renegade.

Jae Onasi
04-26-2006, 04:02 PM
:lol:
You guys are too funny. I will try to get something put up very soon. :)

(Jae goes back to living room to go rummage around in the laundry basket where she last saw that Sith mask....)

Jae Onasi
04-28-2006, 07:28 PM
Chapter 16: The Story of Reeca

“Feeling any better, lad?” Jolee asked.
“Still rotten, but better,” Talin breathed quietly.

“‘Better’ is better, we’ll take it,” Jolee replied. “You should be up and back to normal in a few days.”

“Wish I could believe that,” Talin said, eyes closing slowly.

Jolee chuckled slightly, “When you’re planting flowers, it’s hardest to imagine their beauty when you’re up to your eyeballs in the poo-doo fertilizer.”

Talin just shook his head slightly and sighed.

“That’s very…picturesque,” I noted, lifting an eyebrow in irony. A yawn escaped before I could stop it, and Jolee looked me over with a critical eye.

“Talin, I’m sending Jae back to our suite, and I’ll stay here.”

I protested, “Jolee, I need to be here in case--”

“No, you need to go rest. The masters who are strongest in the Force don’t have unlimited healing power, and neither do you. We all have to sleep sometime. The only one who I’m convinced doesn’t sleep is Vrook, and look how crabby it makes him. There’s a Li’adan outside who will take you back to your room." When I made no move towards the door, he added, “They now also have these amazing new-fangled devices we call comlinks,” Jolee said dryly, displaying his. “It’s a novel concept. We can talk to each other at any time if we have an emergency. What will they think of next?” Jolee said with an acidic drawl, though he tempered it just a bit with a smile.

“Go. Sleep.” Talin made a weak dismissal motion with a bandaged hand.

I crossed my arms and stated, “Fine. But I’m going to come back as soon as I get a short rest.”

“You must be really tired,” Jolee said. “You sound like a two year old. All you need to do now is stomp one of your feet. Get going.” He made a circling motion for me to turn and then pointed at the door.

I sighed, turned, and made sure not to stomp on my way out.


***

The dream tendrilled like one of the poison vines of Dxun, trying to strangle any good around it….
The Sith Lord laughed loudly, watching my attempts to block his lightsaber blows, a look of haughty disdain darkening his face. Jolee was there, lying on the ground, struck down in battle. Talin, lying on the ground next to him, twisted by the horrible plague of blisters. Those same blisters covered my hands, but I couldn’t stop fighting. I had to save my friends. I watched in horror as the Sith Lord raised his lightsaber to bring it crashing down on my head, realizing my block would never reach up in time to protect me from being killed…

I woke up fully in a start, taking a moment to realize I was in my room in the suite, the dampness from the sweat trickling down my neck and making me cold. I had only slept a few hours, but the dream made my heart race, and I knew it would be a while before I could get back to sleep. I found some caffa in the galley and picked up the holocron from the pile of Jolee’s datapads of notes. Turning it over in my hands in study, I thought about the dream and the masters’ mantra, ‘the future is always in motion’. Maybe studying the holocron could make a difference. Sitting down on a sofa, I started the meditation.

***
The shift in the air and the light weight draping over me woke me up. Jolee had come back to the suite, and had covered me up with a blanket.
“Well, I was trying not to wake you up,” he said.

“Talin’s OK?”

“Sleeping like a baby. He’ll be that way for a while—his body is starting to heal itself now. Tarm’ad promised to call us if he woke up. I came back to get some shut-eye before I fell asleep walking. I was surprised to see you out here, though. I didn’t know you’d taken to sleeping on the sofa with holocrons and caffa. No wonder you’re having strange dreams lately.”

Brushing the hair out of my eyes, I said, “I wasn’t trying to sleep, I was trying to meditate.” I pointed at the holocron.

Jolee sat down across from me. “Using the Force at full bore is pretty exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to channel that much power. Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for real sleep, and your body lets you know that by checking out for a while. Even masters don’t meditate forever. So why were you out here trying to study the holocron when I told you to rest, hmm?” He tried unsuccessfully to put a strict look on his face—the frown was there but the eyes contradicted it.

“It was that nightmare vision again. You’re down, Talin is lying on the ground with Scourge, and I’m battling the Sith Lord and can’t get my lightsaber up in time to make the block. It woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep right away. I thought if I came out and studied this holocron some more, I might be able to change something or at least stop the dream.”

He rested back in his chair and considered the situation for a few moments, rubbing his chin. “I don’t think you’ll be able to stop the dream. The Force is funny like that. Once it gives someone a vision, it usually doesn’t make it go away until it’s completed.”

“Oh, wonderful,” I said, too tired to stop the sarcasm. “I can’t wait for more sleepless nights.”

“No one ever promised you lots of beauty sleep when you’re a Jedi, you know,” he grinned. “Still, the future is pretty fluid. Just because you see it one way in a vision doesn’t mean it will be that way. You never know what might change it. Studying the holocron may not do anything, and then again, it might just be the thing that saves everyone. I’d rather bet on it helping, and the knowledge is never wasted. And since we seem to be in a lightsaber battle, we’ll make sure we study solid technique. It’s always good to be prepared for these things. You know, this reminds me of this lass, Reeca. It’s a good story, but I need some tea first before I tell it. Doesn’t matter what planet I’m on, damn infirmary air is always dry.”

He went to the galley, and came out with two cups of hot tea, handing one to me. I sat up to sip the fragrant drink, watching the steam making lazy swirls upwards.

“Alderaan grey tea. Supposedly helps people to relax,” he said, sitting down with his cup. He continued, “Reeca and I were made Padawans about the same time. Fine girl. Brilliant scholar. Always had her nose stuck in holocrons. Last I heard, she was one of the master archivists in the Jedi library on Coruscant. Anyway, she kept having this vision that she was falling off a cliff or something, landing face up on a ledge 100 feet below and dying. She did everything she could to avoid high places after that. Finally, her master made her go on a hike in the mountains with him. He took a couple of us Padawans along for exercise and herb training or something like that. ‘You can’t run away from destiny’, he told her. If it was going to happen, the Force would make it happen. If not, at least she’d get over trying to escape her destiny all the time.”

“I take it she didn’t fall off any cliffs during that trip, then?”

“No, Reeca did fall off a cliff—it really was her destiny that she saw in her dream. The future didn’t change that much from the vision. We were walking on a narrow path, and I was leading. I stopped short to keep from stepping on a snake. She kept going, ran into me, and lost her balance. I tried to grab her to keep from falling, but I couldn’t catch her in time. She fell off the side of the cliff and landed on a ledge about 100 feet below, just like in her vision.”

“How did she survive, then?”

“Well, she put in extra study on levitation techniques. Probably studied till her eyeballs fell out, knowing her. All of us used our levitation skills to stop her fall, but she really didn’t need it. She’d managed to stop her fall pretty well by herself, and she just floated above the ledge for a few moments catching her breath. Once she got up and realized she was still with us in the land of the living, she pulled out one of those monofilament lines and made her way down the rest of the cliff. She beat us to the campsite and was sitting in front of a nice little fire by the time the rest of us made it back. I’ll say one thing for her, she was definitely prepared. She didn’t even have a scratch. Her master made a point that night to discuss teamwork, how fluid visions can be, and the value of study. I’m not quite sure why he kept looking at me every time he mentioned the word ‘study’. I didn’t skip that many of his classes.”

“I doubt that there’s any super-secret Force power to protect us from a Sith Lord, though.”

“Ha! That’s a good one. No, I don’t know of any anti-Sith powers, or I’d be using them myself. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to come up with a couple different strategies that will stop this guy in his tracks.”

The tea must have been working, because I could no longer suppress the yawning.

“Hey, my stories aren’t that boring, you know,” Jolee said.

“I think it’s the tea. You must have spiked it with something to put me to sleep.”

“Now would I do anything sneaky like that?”

I grinned back at him without a response and headed to my room.

“I’ll wake you up if anything changes,” he promised.

* * *

Much later that day, I found Jolee in the galley sipping caffa and studying the holocron.

“Why did you let me sleep so long?” I asked.

“Maybe because you needed it?” he retorted, lifting his eyes to me.

I shot him a dark look. “We need to go see if Talin’s OK. I should have been up hours ago to check his condition.”

“Tarm’ad called me a couple times with reports. He’s doing fine, and he’s still asleep. I didn’t see any point in waking you so you could watch him snore. However, I know you won’t be satisfied until you see your patient for yourself, so let’s go.”

We arrived quickly at the infirmary, and Jolee and I walked over to Talin’s room. I was relieved to notice that he was starting to wake up, and all the monitors showed normal or near-normal values.

“Hey, how are you feeling now?” I smiled down at him.

“Do you know how many times I’ve had to answer that question today?” he asked, his face scrunching up in an irritable look.

Jolee chuckled a bit. “Well, if you have enough energy to be grumpy, you must be doing better.”

Talin snorted. “Yes, I feel better. I still feel rotten, but it’s better than yesterday when all I could do was lie here like a beached jellyfish, while everyone did everything for me. And to me. Have I mentioned how much I hate doctors and hospitals?”

“We’ll try not to take it personally,” Jolee replied dryly, giving Talin’s arm a very gentle pat of reassurance.

“Roll over on your stomach so I can check your back, please,” I said. Talin complied. I gently removed the dressings.

“That tickles,” he protested.

“Healing skin is very sensitive, and I’m trying to use a light touch so it doesn’t hurt,” I noted clinically, looking over all the many cuts and bruises that were starting to heal. “Well, with the combination of Tarm’ad’s treatment and my long rest, I think I have plenty of Force energy to heal this very quickly,” I said, looking pointedly at Jolee.

Jolee beamed at his success.

Talin looked over at Jolee and asked, “How long?” His sharp ears had caught the slight emphasis on ‘long’.

“About 14 hours.”

“Good. You needed it. I suppose I’ll allow you to heal, then,” Talin decided.

“Imperious today, aren’t we?” Jolee drawled.

Shaking my head while smiling at that, I ordered, “Hush now, all of you. I need to concentrate.” Focusing on his back and using the Force, I saw each cut and bruise heal.

Talin shifted his shoulders a bit after I finished, testing for sore spots, and then turned over, sighing. “Ah, it feels good to lie on my back. Much better. Thanks.”

Jolee rechecked all the other injuries to make sure healing was complete. “You and the doctors did a good job, Jae. Talin, I think you’ll be out of here in a couple days.”

“I don’t plan on being here that long.”

“Now, Talin….” I said, raising an eyebrow.

Elin’ad entered the infirmary in brisk strides. They stayed a respectful distance outside Talin’s bay until he saw them and waved them in. “You’re making amazing progress,” they said, smiling wide with pleasure.

“I’m feeling much better today. Thank you,” he replied, managing some cheerfulness.

“Master Bindo, we’d like a moment with you, if you don’t mind,” Elin’ad said.
They left the room, though we could still hear the conversation.

“Certainly. Is there something I can help you with?” Jolee asked, cordially.

“It is a matter that requires urgent attention. We’ve found Dycen’a.”

“Where is he?”

“He just broke through the planet’s shields in a small scout ship. Your ship is the only one fast enough to stop him before he can jump to hyperspace. We’d like to request your assistance in catching him.”

Talin heard the request and looked over at me. “I need to get up and help.” He struggled to sit up.

“You need to rest.”

“I am not staying another night in any infirmary.”

“Talin, no--” I tried to stop him from getting up, knowing what would happen when he got out of bed too fast. Never underestimate Jedi speed. Or determination, I reminded myself.

“Oh, blast it,” Talin said through teeth grit in frustration.

Tarm’ad and I each grabbed an arm when his legs refused to hold him up after he stood, and Jolee rushed back in to help. Some of the monitors started flashing warnings as Talin’s vital signs fell precipitously from his efforts to get up too quickly. His face went white as he nearly lost consciousness. We immediately got him back to bed, and I concentrated in the Force while Tarm’ad injected medication to stabilize him. I tried not to fidget as I waited for the vitals to stabilize and breathed out in relief when they started to climb. A few minutes later, the glassy look left his eyes as he became more alert.

“Jedi or no, it takes time to heal from injuries as severe as yours. You have to stay in bed until you’ve recovered,” I urged him.

He scowled. “Stop looking at me so concerned.” He thought for a moment, and the frown disappeared as he looked at me again. “I’m not going anywhere, I promise. I just hate being incapacitated, and I hate not being able to help you.” His shaky voice told me the bravado was merely a cover.

Jolee locked eyes with Talin. “I don’t appreciate a scare like that because you have some kind of inferiority complex about accepting help. You’re not going to be able to help us if you’re collapsed on the floor. Next time you try to do anything that these four don’t approve, I’ll have you shipped back to Coruscant in a med pod for the masters to heal you there. Is there anything unclear about this?” He kept a bland tone, but the look on his face was as severe as I had ever seen.

“None whatsoever,” Talin sighed, defeated. He laid his head back and closed his eyes, lips tight in frustration, knowing there was nothing he could do to help.

“I’m glad we’ve got that straight, then. Jae, I’m going to see what else Elin’ad has to say about catching our favorite Sith apprentice. We’ll leave as soon as possible.”

Diego Varen
04-28-2006, 07:36 PM
"Hey, my stories aren’t that boring, you know"

That should be Jolee's quote. Good as always. I wonder who this Sith is. I hope all will be revealed in the next 2-3 Chapters.

Char Ell
04-28-2006, 10:15 PM
^^^
Speaking for myself, I hope all will be revealed in due course, however many chapters that takes. :D

***gleefully rubs hands together***
So it's Jolee and Jae, off to chase down the nefarious Dycen'a, eh? I eagerly await the next installment of this story to see how this plays out.

I also liked how you had Jolee use one of his stories to illustrate for Jae how force visions/dreams don't lock her onto future paths. One can still do something to control one's own destiny. That part of the chapter really resonated with me.

JediMaster12
04-29-2006, 03:31 AM
Sweet another chapter done and soooo addicting :D
Great job Jae. Talin sounds like any tough guy trying not to be a wussy. I like Jolee's being the leader and ordering people around especially Talin. I also liked the story Jolee tells of visions. Reminds me of Andor and Kraat and the whole destiny thing. Yep definitely a Bindo moment :D

Jae Onasi
04-29-2006, 03:33 AM
^
If Yoda could tell Luke the future was always in motion, I figured Jolee could do that, too. :)

@Pottsie--one of my (many) favorite lines in "The Incredibles" (which is one of the few movies outside of the SW series that I've seen more than once in theaters) is when Mr. Incredible tells the kids, "We'll get there when we get there."
Of course, I liked _everything_ that E had to say, especially when she's showing off the new super-suits to Elastigirl. "Virtually indestructible--" (as missiles and fire are shot at Elastigirl's new Super-suit, E watches with a sick glee as everything blows up) "--yet breathes like Egyptian cotton." :D That is so my sense of humor.

I wasn't happy with Ch. 15. The emergency scene was a little too tame and blah, and after debating whether to add a bunch of potentially confusing med terms but also add more excitement, I decided to go for it. I reworked it quite a bit, and it's definitely longer but more detailed. Hopefully it captures more of the urgency that happens during a trauma.
The show ER is quite accurate in portrayals of emergencies, btw, except for the annoying spinning camera thing that starts to make my head hurt after a while. Makes me want to reach out for the camera man and say 'Hold still, for heaven's sake!' :)

JediMaster12
04-30-2006, 01:44 AM
I haven't watched ER since Carter left so I am not up to date. After for years watching it, it kind of fell by the wayside. New favorite is CSI. Still I think you do a terrific job Jae. :)

Jae Onasi
04-30-2006, 02:30 AM
^
I was done with ER once Mark Green left. When they started really getting away from their original mission of showing life in an ER (which they did really well the first couple of seasons) and started being overly obvious about pushing political agendas, I lost interest.
Oh yeah, CSI is one of my favs, along with Without a Trace and lately, Criminal Minds (I adore Mandy Patinkin--we've seen him twice in concert. Great performer!). I also watch Dog the Bounty Hunter just because it's so darn quirky. Jimbo just shakes his head in wonder at that one.

I'm off to go write the next chap. :)

Jae Onasi
05-01-2006, 01:46 PM
This is an updated version of Ch. 17. Thanks for the beta, Jiara.

—————————————-

Chapter 17: The Capture

I turned back to look at Talin, whose lips were set in disappointment. “Jolee and I are going to head out in a couple minutes. Do you need anything?”

“No.”

“You’ll be in good hands here. Tarm’ad has excellent medical skills,” I tried to reassure him.

“I know. I’ve watched them at work,” he said quietly, looking away.

“I know you want to go, and it’ll be good to have you back when you’re healed. We made a pretty decent team against all those Sith fighters.”

Talin blinked and focused, then looked at me. “I don’t think you’re going to end up in any kind of duel with Dycen’a being out in space, but, please, you have to listen to me on this in case you do.”

“I’m listening. I’ve learned to have a healthy respect for your lightsaber skills.”

“Dycen’a is very predictable in his fighting style. He’s still new to lightsaber dueling. Even though he uses the dark side to enhance his power, it doesn’t make up for his inexperience. He almost always does flurries, and he uses a lot of the same moves. It didn’t take me long to figure out the forms he uses because they’re so simple.” His agile hands traced the patterns in the air, highlighting the best attacks and countermoves.

I watched intently, determined to memorize every scrap of information. “I’ll make sure to tell Jolee.”

“Mind your stances, too. Stay with the basics—dramatic spins are for holovids. Remember to watch his eyes.”

His urgency surprised me. I laid a hand on his arm to calm him. “Talin, you’ll be fine. We shouldn’t be gone long, and I promise we won’t leave you here.”

“It’s not me I’m worried about. I want you to come back safe.” He held my gaze as he laid his hand on top of mine. The warmth spread from him and flowed through me. No, not again, not those feelings. ‘There is no emotion…’ Jedi training is supposed to stop this—Jolee can’t be right! I can’t risk that heart-splitting pain again when I lose someone…him….

Jolee’s knock on the door caught our attention. Talin held on to my hand a moment longer, reassuring me with that warmth.

“Ready?” Jolee asked evenly.

“Talin was telling me about Dycen’a’s fighting style.”

“Yes, I can see that,” he replied, desert-dry.

I couldn’t stop the flush from spreading across my cheeks, and I turned quickly to Talin. I shook my finger in a feeble attempt to appear stern and in control. “You behave while we’re gone. I’m going to ask Tarm’ad about everything when we get back.”

“Go. Catch him and come back safe. May the Force be with you both.”

* * *

The Accipiter streaked away from the planet as we raced to catch Dycen’a.

Jolee settled into the pilot’s chair after scanning the instruments. “Here’s the plan, Jae. We want him alive and his ship’s too small to board. We’ll have to disable it and force him to land.”

“He doesn’t strike me as the surrendering type.”

“No, he’s not. We’ll probably have to fight him if he comes down uninjured.”

“Talin gave me some pointers about his dueling style just before we left.”

“Don’t know about you, but I don’t recall any styles that involved holding hands with your enemy.”

“Jolee!” I sputtered, heat flushing my face as he grinned. “It’s probably caregiver syndrome. Patients sometimes get infatuated with people who save them. I’m sure it’ll go away when he’s better.”

“What’s your excuse then?”

“Very funny. He was depressed about not being able to go with us. I just thought he needed a friend then.” Jolee looked at me dubiously, cocking an eyebrow. I crossed my arms over my chest. “Why would I encourage that? The man drives me absolutely crazy with his overbearing attitude.”

“Sure. Remind me to play pazaak with you more often. I’ll make a million credits watching your face give away all your secrets.”

“I’m trying to be serious!”

“Look, I don’t know what happened when you had to go bring him back from death’s door, but you gave him a reason to come back. I felt the shift in both of you. Something might happen, something might not, but as long as you both are happy, I’m fine with however it works out. What I do know is that denial is bad, especially for a Jedi. You may as well put a blinking sign above your head that says ‘Jedi lying to herself here.’”

I sat back and closed my eyes. The images of the last few days raced across my vision as I considered what he said. “I don’t know what to think. I’m still trying to sort everything out. So much has happened just in the last two days. I can’t even begin to understand how he can drive me up a wall with his arrogance and yet attract me all at the same time. I never expected to have any feelings like that after Roben. With the Order’s rules on attachments, I hoped that I wouldn’t ever have to deal with it again.”

“Now that’s an honest answer. All I can tell you is that the Order isn’t an escape hatch from life. If you try to run away instead of really living it, you’re going to miss out on so much. Besides, the attraction thing doesn’t have to make sense. Sometimes it just happens. I fell in love with the woman who shot down my ship. Does that make any sense? Of course, she was gorgeous and had fire in her spirit…but I digress. Things sort themselves out with time.” He tapped another button on the control panel and adjusted our course. “Now, tell me what he said about those fighting styles. My mouth is getting dry from all this lecturing.”

Jolee sat back in his chair as I explained, occasionally nodding or asking me a question to clarify a point. “That boy’s good. He caught a couple things I missed. Let’s hope we don’t have to put it to use.”

The proximity alarm beeped as Dycen’a’s ship appeared on our screen. We received silence to our hails to turn around and land. Jolee maneuvered our ship behind him, flying in fast.

“Don’t hit anything critical like the cockpit. We want him to land in mostly one piece,” Jolee ordered.

“Got it. He’s firing!”

Jolee rolled our ship, dodging the blaster fire. I locked in on the engines and shot several rounds. The first round hit the shields. They glowed brightly for a few moments, and then died out. The next rounds hit the ship.

“One of his engines is flaming out,” I said.

“Well, now he doesn’t have a choice about landing. Track him.”

Dycen’a’s ship turned back towards the planet. Li’adan fighters scrambled as we both entered the atmosphere.

“Li’adan control, call your people off. We need Dycen’a alive,” I called.

“We’re ordered to fire,” Control replied.

“Son, that boy’s ship is already flaming out. Just follow him down with us. Unless you feel like explaining yourself to Kiol’ad, who wants him alive if possible.” Jolee keyed off the comm and grinned at me. “Always feel free to take high officials’ names in vain when dealing with the military.”

After a long pause, the comm crackled loudly with a terse reply. “Kiol’ad has ordered us to leave him to you. However, we will shoot him down if he deviates towards the city.”

“Understood. Out,” Jolee replied. He keyed off the comm. “Like he has control over his fighter right now.”

The fighters moved into an escort formation, and we maintained our pursuit. Dycen’a’s ship glowed as it hurtled through the atmosphere, then leveled out. The top exploded off. Jolee pulled up sharply to avoid the debris.

“His ship’s breaking apart!”

“No, he’s ejecting, that damn fool. There’s hardly anything to breathe this high up. Stay on his signature. I’ll circle around.”

Dycen’a was a miniscule blip on the sensor as Jolee turned to follow him. What was left of Dycen’a’s ship broke apart into large chunks that fell in a rain of fire. Dycen’a’s speck on the monitor disappeared. I scrolled through the different sensors, trying to pick up his signal again. “I lost him, Jolee.”

“It’s the heat and debris. Confuses some of the instruments. They can’t tell us everything, anyway. You have to trust your senses, too.”

Jolee landed near the spot we felt Dycen’a was most likely to land. Once on the ground, he surveyed the terrain. “Hmm, forest and fields. If I were a smart Sith, I’d probably hide in the woods somewhere. All the animal activity makes it easier to cloak his signature.”

“Who said he was smart?”

“Well, you’re learning to be sassy now, aren’t you? Never underestimate Sith. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they do something new and sneaky. Now, look around and see if we can find anything of his.”

We worked our way across the field, searching for bits of evidence to tell us where he landed.

“There’s a parachute over there.”

“Now we can find his trail.” Jolee slowly paced the area and stopped to finger a tall stem of grass.

“What is it?”

“A broken stalk and the start of some faint tracks.”

“I don’t see much of anything.”

“Look for the alterations in life force in the area. The damaged brush gives a subtly different Force signature. Helps if you’ve learned Wookiee tracking skills like I did. Saved my hind end in the Shadowlands more times than I care to count. Keep alert in the woods—you’ll probably feel the dark side presence before you see him, but not much before. Watch everything.”

We followed those faint tracks far into the forest. We approached a glade, the dark side energy chilling the air. Jolee stopped and cocked his head to listen. I sensed the fear in the animals that skittered away. My heart started to pound in anticipation, and I took a deep breath to suppress the adrenaline. I felt for his presence. He’s there, he’s moving…. Jolee’s lightsaber snapped on a moment before mine.

A breeze brushed across my face. Dycen’a swooped down, lightsaber lit. “Jolee!” I called, ducking a powerful slash.

Dycen’a’s orange saber blazed as it wheeled over my head. Then he drove his blade in hard. I caught his attack and slid my lightsaber down its length. I grazed his chest before he dodged to the side. He grunted with the pain, and his face darkened in fury. His blade blurred with his flurries and I fought to keep up with the rain of blows. When he slashed at my legs, I dropped my blade tip down. His whirling blade stopped but it shot right back at me. The heat burned through my tunic sleeve and singed my arm before I snapped my saber up to stop his attack. Dycen’a’s eyes lost focus for a moment. As I slashed, a wall of Force energy hit and I flew back. The impact with the tree knocked my breath out. Dycen’a jumped towards me. He raised his lightsaber high and chopped down.

Jolee’s saber caught his attack mid-swing. Their blades locked together, and I twisted out of the way. Dycen’a broke loose and attacked Jolee. Their blades crackled loudly with each blow. Jolee sped up his attacks as I joined him, pressing Dycen’a back. Our blades spun and then scissored on Dycen’a’s lightsaber. It flew out of his grasp. He stopped, holding up his hands. I turned off my lightsaber, breathing heavy.

“It’s over, Dycen’a. We don’t want to hurt you,” Jolee said.

“Come with us quietly,” I added, slipping into his mind to persuade him.

He repelled the attempt and glared at me. “I’m not going to live life Joined. You’ll kill me, or you’ll die trying.”

“Why do all the Sith say things like that?” Jolee sighed.

Dycen’a’s eyes narrowed and he smiled thinly. His Force energy flowed. I heard a loud crack and looked up. “Jolee, jump!” I leaped to the side as a large branch crashed down. The smaller branches raked across my back and arm.

Dycen’a leaped away. His lightsaber flew to his hand and he dashed off into the forest.

“Jolee?” I pushed aside leaves, searching frantically. I found him lying under part of the branch, eyes closed. “Oh, Force!”

One eye popped open, then the other. “I’m fine. Just a little stuck. Help me with this branch.”

I breathed out in relief. I helped untangle him and then pulled him up. “He ran off that way,” I pointed.

“Let’s go.”

We sprinted after Dycen’a and gained on him as he crashed through the forest. Then Dycen’a stopped short, arms circling wildly to stop his momentum. He had come up on a deep ravine. He turned to face us, igniting his lightsaber. Jolee and I stood side-by-side, our sabers snapping on again. Dycen’a stepped into an attack stance and started swinging wildly. His blade crashed against ours. My arms shook from the effort to drive back his blows. Jolee circled his blade in towards me, then snapped it back away. Dycen’a slashed sideways to block. Jolee abruptly whirled his blade back under in a feint. Dycen’a’s blade kept flying away, leaving his side exposed. Jolee and I struck him down, and he collapsed at our feet.

Jolee picked up his lightsaber as I kneeled down. “Life signs are still there, but really weak. There’s a lot of damage, too much for me to heal.”

Jolee put a stasis field around him. “It’s too much for both of us. He’s going to need Master healers. Let’s move. We’ll put him in the med pod and send him to Coruscant as soon as we can hit space. The Council will want to talk to him anyway if he survives.”

We double-timed back to the ship with the Li’adan. As we left the woods, I looked up. The sun was gone. Dark clouds filled the sky, lightning flashing.

“Sky looks bad,” I said.

“Let’s move it. I’ve already been through one storm. I don’t want to be in another.” We crossed the field and reached our ship quickly. Jolee started up the ship while I secured Dycen’a in the med pod and activated its stasis field.

“All set?” he asked when I rejoined him.

“The life signs are staying stable.”

“Good. Let’s get out of here before that storm hits us and does something nasty.”

I thought about what the storm would do to the wreckage. “Jolee, turn around. We have to go back.”

“It’s generally not a good idea to fly towards the danger, you know.”

“If that storm hits the ship debris, any evidence will be destroyed. We have to try to get the navcomputer and find out where he’s been.”

“I hate it when you young people are right. Look, you’ve got 5 minutes to find whatever you can, less if I have to call you back.”

Some of the remains were still smoking. I searched through the wreckage and found what was left of the cockpit. The winds started to howl, and the black clouds were lit up with non-stop lightning flashes. The sprinkles of rain turned to drenching sheets.

“Jae, we have to leave now. Sensor shows a tornado coming.”

“I found the navcomputer!”

“Leave it! We won’t be able to fly out of this if we don’t leave now!”

“I just about have it!” The instrument was stuck. I pulled out my lightsaber and severed it from the wreckage.

“Get on the damn ship, Jae!” Jolee ordered.

The booming thunder made it almost impossible to hear him. I crouched low against the wind and flying debris. A meter-wide piece of metal whirled through the air. I threw up a force field. It bounced off, just missing my head. Then the wind intensity dropped, and I realized the ship was blocking the gale. I ran up the ramp into the relative safety.

“About time you decided to listen to me and get back here,” Jolee groused, lifting the ship off the ground. “You look like a drowned tach.”

“Try Wookiee. Drowned tach doesn’t do it justice,” I said, trying to wipe away the rivulets of water pouring down my face.

“Punch in the coordinates for an orbit. We’re going to fly straight up to get out of this storm,” Jolee said, hanging on to the instruments with both hands.

The fierce winds rotated in small funnels around us. The ship bucked as Jolee tried to gain height. “Hang on. We’ll get out of this yet.”

Lightning lit the sky ahead of us. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe. “Oh, Force. Jolee, look. That can’t be what it looks like…”

Jolee uttered several expletives.

Bearing down on our ship was an enormous tornado.

Diego Varen
05-01-2006, 03:03 PM
A good Chapter. The Sith has been revealed then. Can't wait for more.

JediMaster12
05-01-2006, 03:57 PM
Nice little joke about pazaak. I'm sure Jae is a terrible player if she keeps blushing like that. Good chapter as always Jae and I enjoy reading your fic though I am still trying to figure out how I could have more views than replies on Broken Wounds Heal. My mind is split in two :lol:

Jae Onasi
05-01-2006, 05:35 PM
^
More views than replies: Lots of people reading, not so many commenting. I'll go read an update/post, but if I don't have the time to read it in depth so that I can make an appropriate comment, I won't leave a reply at that point (and this week I was busy reading the challenge submissions at kotorfanmedia--I entered a short piece there, and the challenge has a short turnaround time to read/comment on the other submissions, so I got a bit behind here).
More replies than views: weird computer glitch.

Yes, I had fun writing that little pazaak comment.
Poor Jimbo has to listen to me get all excited about what my characters are saying or doing:
Me: Hey, do you think Jolee saying that pazaak line is funny? Is Mik'oth smarmy enough?
Jimbo: (trying to sleep because Jae's still writing at 12:30 am and he has to work in the morning) Mmmph. Sure, dear. I think it's wonderful that they have a vaccine for the scourge now.
I posted this before he got to read it, so I know he's going to roll his eyes at me managing to fit tornadoes into a Star wars fic. :D

Sable Phoenix
05-01-2006, 05:46 PM
This just gets better and better.

I'm following it avidly here because KFM updates too slowly. :) More!

Jae Onasi
05-01-2006, 06:54 PM
^
That's because I didn't consider submitting there for quite some time (not that there's anything wrong with KFM, the thought just hadn't occurred to me, and then I wanted to lurk a bit). I don't want to upload a ton of chapters all at one time, so it's quite a bit farther behind than here. :)
I can totally understand their submit policy since they handle more edgy stories.

Back on topic...thanks! Ch 18 is already being thought out. I'm going out of town this coming weekend with a long flight so I may get some solid work done while on the plane. :)

Hallucination
05-01-2006, 08:31 PM
Every thread has more views than replies. Another Jae-licious chapter, keep it up! BTW cutting the branch seems like something Talin would do, not Jolee. IMO a 'Jolee thing' would have been cutting down the tree. :xp:

JediMaster12
05-01-2006, 08:34 PM
Woohoo! (My signature glee)
Yeah I was wondering where those who have read it have gone. I understand the whole concept of LIFE. Still I wait for another Bindo moment. :D

Jae Onasi
05-02-2006, 12:21 AM
@Hall--Jolee cutting down the tree-- :lol:
@JM12--I think mine has roughly a 5-10% reply rate (out of views). That doesn't really bother me. Some people just want to read it and not necessarily say much if anything, and that's fine. I'll view a thread more than once sometimes without making a reply, either because I don't have time to reply right then (like when I'm at work and have a few minutes to breeze through a thread or because I don't have anything significant to contribute at that time. Other times I'll read a thread (in any forum) because certain people have replied, and I want to see what they have to say about the topic, or because I'm interested in seeing where the discussion is going.

Heh, Jimbo saw the tornado in this chapter, shook his head, and sighed, "That's my wife...." :D

Sable Phoenix
05-02-2006, 02:31 AM
So... what is it with you and tornadoes, anyway?

Jae Onasi
05-02-2006, 03:03 AM
^
I've been fascinated with them ever since I saw "The Wizard of Oz" as a kid. In 4th grade, I wanted to be a meteorologist when all my other girl friends wanted to be homemakers (nothing wrong with that, btw), teachers, or nurses--the 'traditional' women's occupations. I actually wrote a fan letter to the local TV meteorologist (who took the time to write me back!). When the tornado sirens go off, that's my cue to go outside, not to the basement. I'd like to go on a tornado chase vacation, although I've been informed it'd be over my husband's dead body, so I guess that probably will never happen. He said something about worrying to death about me getting injured or killed while going on The Great Hunt for Twisters and I don't want that to happen. You learn to make these compromises in marriage. ;)

However, given the unusually severe weather that Li'adin experiences, an F5 tornado would not be an unusual occurrence, and I thought it'd be something different from dodging asteroids. I didn't create the planet's weather problems to specifically include tornadoes, however. I don't mind the dodging asteroids thing, I just don't want to see the concept made stereotypical by doing it into the ground. The fact that I like these storms made it even better. :)

Renegade Puma
05-02-2006, 05:47 AM
The last two chapters were amazing Jae. I really liked the reference to KOTOR I as well. Where Jolee said he hung out with some trees and walking carpets for awhile. Keep up the great work, I can't wait for Jae to save the universe! :)

JediMaster12
05-02-2006, 01:02 PM
I like your tornadoes Jae. It does make a difference from the dodging proton torpedoes and asteroids, though the odds of surviving an asteroid field is approximately 3,527: 1 :lol:
I wonder what are the odds for surviving a Liardin tornado? :lol:

Jae Onasi
05-02-2006, 03:31 PM
I wonder what are the odds for surviving a Liardin tornado? :lol:

I don't know. I'm making this up as I go along. :D And I'm betting Jolee's one of those 'Never tell me the odds!' kind of people. :)

Seriously, it depends on how strong the tornado is and if it hits you directly or not. Since F1 tornadoes can overturn mobile homes, it has enough strength to do some serious damage if you happen to be in the center of it.
The F5 tornado I have above can have winds over 300 mph and throw cars about 1/15th of a mile (or 100meters)

The Storm Prediction Center has some great info:
Online Tornado FAQ (http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/index.html)

Sable Phoenix
05-02-2006, 07:53 PM
Or do really wierd stuff like knock down a store wall, but leave the canned goods and shelves standing against the wall undisturbed. Or pick someone up bodily, strip off all his clothing besides his boots, and set him down completely unharmed. Or pick up five horses hitched to a railing and deposit them a quarter mile away, also completely unharmed. Or drive wooden splinters into an iron fire hydrant, or a pine plank through an iron girder. Or send a brick through two rooms of a house to embed itself in the back wall without even chipping one of its corners. Or my favorite, embed a piece of straw in a car's windshield like a spear.

Tornadoes are fascinating.

Jae Onasi
05-02-2006, 11:13 PM
My favorites are flying cows that land uninjured and the piece of hay stuck in the side of a tree.
The best story (on Weather Channel's storm stories) was when a toddler got blown away from her mother in a tornado and was found without serious injuries and rescued by a sheriff to get reunited with her mother.

Jae Onasi
05-08-2006, 04:50 AM
(Thanks to Jiara and Emperor Devon--your help with the beta-reading is much appreciated.)

Chapter 18: Tornado

“Hang on; it’s going to get rough. This tornado’s right on top of us and I don’t have enough room to maneuver. We have to get above the storm to escape,” Jolee said.

The winds grabbed hold and rocked the ship. Jolee’s hands gripped the controls, fighting to keep us airborne as the furious gales slammed us up and down. My fingernails bit through fabric where I grabbed the armrests too tightly, and I breathed deep to fight back the fear as the ship bucked again. I shouldn’t have stayed out so long. I shouldn’t have risked our lives for a couple of pieces of a broken starfighter.

“Jae, block those emotions. I can’t afford the distraction,” Jolee growled over all the noise of debris peppering the ship. He hit another control when the ship started to roll violently. It corkscrewed a few more times before Jolee could slow it down to shaking turns.

I compressed the terror into a tiny nugget and hoped it would be enough to allow Jolee to concentrate. His eyes were riveted to the displays, and he said nothing. An alarm sounded, warning of extreme structural stress, and I felt the vibrations down to my bones. I fought to press the fear back down again and block the adrenaline surge.

The ship shuddered. One of the compartment latches broke free, and tools flew out into the cockpit like miniature missiles. I froze them all in mid-air. One hovered a few centimeters from Jolee’s head, and I held on tight through all the shaking. Please, let this end soon….

The skies lightened abruptly. We broke through the top of the storm into the clear stratosphere where all weather stopped. I looked at the cloud deck below us, its puffy white innocence belying the deadly winds that roiled below.

“Heh, good girl! Knew you could do it,” Jolee said to the ship, patting the edge of the instrument panel. Then he looked up and saw the hydrospanner suspended just above him. “Jae, were you planning on whacking me with that thing if we crashed?”

I giggled and breathed the rest of the anxiety away. I used the Force to fly everything back to the compartment, then locked the latch down tight.

“Show-off,” Jolee snorted. “And make sure it’s latched tight this time.”

I grinned and then scanned the instrument readouts. “Ship integrity looks OK.”

He studied his readouts and nodded agreement, then looked at me. “What do you think the odds are of surviving a Class five tornado like that one?”

“After what we just went through, I’m betting it’s less than flying through an asteroid field.”

“The answer is it doesn’t matter as long as you survive.”

“Oh, Jolee…” I just shook my head in amazement.

“Let’s get back to the capitol. I’ll contact the Li’adans and give them the short story on what happened. And for Force’s sake, go get some dry clothes on before you leave a giant puddle all over and catch cold or something like that.”

* * *

We landed, and the emergency teams scrambled around the ship, searching for any danger. Finding none, they released the Accipiter to the repair crew. Kiol’ad and Tarm’ad came aboard to evaluate Dycen’a and get more information. Jolee spoke with Kiol’ad while I took Tarm’ad to see Dycen’a.

“The injuries are pretty extensive. Jolee and I agreed we don’t have enough power to prevent multiple organ failure during healing. It’ll take a couple of Masters to heal him properly.” I sighed. “I wish he’d surrendered instead.”

“I don’t believe it was in his nature. He needed to be stopped. We found his base, and there were tens of Singles there, some severely injured or damaged in some way by Dycen’a. We think it took a remarkable restraint to keep him alive, actually,” Tarm’ad said, peering at one of the wounds and then looking at the monitors. “Looks like a very stable stasis field. This should hold him well as long as you leave soon for Coruscant.”

“We’ll have to leave Talin here, then.”

“He’s healed enough to go with you,” Tarm’ad said. When I raised my eyebrows in surprise, the Triad continued, “He was the model patient while you were gone. We were able to free up a kolto tank, and he didn’t even complain when we put him in it for awhile.”

Jolee overheard us as Kiol’ad and he came to see Dycen’a. “Will wonders never cease. The boy actually listened to reason, then.”

Tarm’ad smiled. “He is rather strong-willed, but he did well.”

“‘Strong-willed’ is not the description I’d use,” said Jolee.

Tarm’ad’s smile broadened. “We’ll send him to you shortly, along with your belongings, so that you can be on your way.”

After Tarm’ad debarked, Jolee said, “Jae, show Kiol’ad what you found running around in that damn storm that nearly killed us.”

Kiol’ad’s eyes widened. “That was one of the worst storms we’ve had in years. You were out in it? You’re lucky you weren’t killed.”

“I had to go out. It was the only way to find out where Dycen’a had been. I found the navicomputer, and this object. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” I handed him a slim metal cylinder.

Kiol’ad pressed a tiny button, and a display flashed to life. “Ah, good, it works. This is a timestreamer. It maps out time with great precision. All events are referenced to these instruments.”

“That’s a pretty fancy chronometer,” Jolee said.

“Rather like that, yes, but far more detailed, and it works in multiple dimensions. Our species has the ability to make limited transfers extra-dimensionally in time. The timestreamers prevent the formation of time paradoxes. We know exactly when we leave a particular dimension and exactly what time we return. Most curious that he would have one of these on a ship. We’ll have Aklar’an process both instruments for data.”

“Can non-Li’adans use it?” Jolee asked.

“No, only those who can make the transfers in time.”

“So we have to worry not only where Dycen’a went, but when he went.”

“Precisely. We’ll contact you shortly,” Kiol’ad said, and then left the ship.

I watched various thoughts play across Jolee’s face. “So, what are you thinking?”

“A lot of things. Let’s get Talin settled, and once we get going we’ll all talk to see if any of my ideas make any sense.”

* * *

Talin eased his tall frame down onto the sofa with a sigh. “It’s good to get out of that infirmary bed. I don’t know what it is about those things, but they’re never comfortable.”

“You look a lot better. The kolto did you good,” I observed, handing both Jolee and Talin some mugs of caffa before sitting down on the sofa with a cup of my own.

“I hate the taste of that stuff. No matter how tight a mask they put on, somehow it always works its way in.”

“It’s awful, I know. I’m glad I don’t have to do that again.”

“Why would you have to do that again….just how did you get hurt?” Talin’s eyes narrowed as he frowned at me.

“I’m fine, it was all minor. You can’t even tell where I healed. Your fighting tips were very helpful, by the way.”

“Yes indeed, the fighting tips were quite useful. However, Dycen’a wasn’t the main problem, was he, Jae?” Jolee said.

“What’s worse than a Sith apprentice, except maybe his master?” Talin looked back and forth at Jolee and me.

Jolee replied, “She ran out into a Class five tornado looking for little souvenirs in the wreckage of Dycen’a’s ship. Thank goodness it was actually something important instead of a caffa-maker.”

“Great, Jolee. I’m glad you broke it to him gently.”

“When we get back to Coruscant, I’m going to ask the other Masters if impudence was added to the Padawan curriculum recently. I think I missed that somewhere in Jedi Master training.”

Talin looked at both of us in disbelief, then concern. “Why would you do anything so insane? You could have been killed! Didn’t I tell you to come back safe?”

“Talin, we’re both fine, and you need to stay calm right now.” I put a hand on top of his briefly to transmit tranquility and pointedly ignored Jolee’s amused look. “Going after those instruments was our only chance to get some answers on Dycen’a’s whereabouts. Kiol’ad has Aklar’an reviewing the information in both the navcomputer and the timestreamer.”

We filled him in on the rest of the events.

Talin brought out a datapad. “While I was stuck in bed, I looked over the data that Kiol’ad gave us at our first meeting. The vortices have been appearing in this system and near Ossus. That has to be connected to what you’ve found.”

“Why go back in time to Ossus?” I asked. “Oh, wait. The Scourge defense holocron was from the Jedi Library there, wasn’t it?”

“The Jedi managed to get some materials out of the Library before the stars exploded, but we still lost a lot of items,” Talin said.

Jolee sat back in his chair, stroking his chin in thought. “That holocron was supposed to have been one of those lost items. Here’s my theory. Dycen’a was apprenticed to a Sith Master and went traveling around in time to steal items for him. Somehow, he was able to slip in and out of the Jedi Library, though we’ll probably never learn how.”

“Dycen’a and his Sith Lord had to meet up from time to time so he could deliver whatever he got from Ossus and get his training,” I said. “If we can find out where he’s been going, we may be able to narrow down the location of his master.”

Jolee nodded. “Now you’re using that brain of yours. When we get to Coruscant, we’ll check with the Master Archivist to see if any other items were missing instead of confirmed destroyed at Ossus. If Dycen’a has been time-hopping for this Sith and stealing holocrons, we may be up against something far more dangerous than we anticipated.”

Diego Varen
05-08-2006, 11:53 AM
A good Chapter as normal.

Char Ell
05-08-2006, 12:22 PM
Welcome back, Jae Onasi!

Tornadoes are awesome weather events. I think they're cool to watch but not so cool if I happen to be in one's path. :smirk2:

So the sparks between Jae and Talin are really starting to fly now, eh?

JediMaster12
05-08-2006, 12:37 PM
And a Bindo moment! Another great chapter Jae. The crash landing scene sounded vaguely familiar like from a movie :D
Meesa likes it.

Jae Onasi
05-09-2006, 10:40 AM
Thanks folks! I love writing Bindoisms. Sometimes even I don't know what he's going to say next. :D

JediMaster12
05-09-2006, 01:44 PM
I especially look forward to a kiss or two between Talin and Jae :D

Jae Onasi
05-09-2006, 03:13 PM
I especially look forward to a kiss or two between Talin and Jae :D

No worries! ;)

Jae Onasi
05-09-2006, 11:25 PM
Thanks to Emperor Devon and Jiara for the betas.

--------



Chapter 19: The Xi-ro Form

“We have the data from the navcomputer and the timestreamer, and we’re sending you the information as we speak,” Kiol’ad informed us the next day. “It appears Dycen’a has made frequent trips, though why he has gone to Telos, Ossus, and Nar Shaddaa, we don’t know.”

Jolee cocked his head slightly. “Telos and Ossus make sense. But Nar Shaddaa?”

“We were curious about that as well, and thought you might have some thoughts on that.”

“Hmm, none at the moment, but when we find something out we’ll make sure to contact you. Was there anything from the timestreamer?”

“There are frequent instances of travels in time, and they coincide with the vortices. Dycen’a was the only one who could have done this. Since he can no longer cause these swirls, the gravitophoton count should drop and our planet’s weather system will hopefully return to a more normal state.”

“We were happy to help with that mission,” Talin said.

Kiol’ad nodded. “We’re happy to have that help. We gave you all the data on his travels. We’re not entirely sure what to make of the rest of the information. Perhaps you’ll have some insight.”

“We think Dycen’a was working with an Exchange boss on Telos. The travel information might give us some clues on where to find him,” I said.

“Good. If we find out anything more here on Li’adin, we’ll make sure to forward the information to you.”

Talin added, “We’re very grateful for your help. If there’s anything we can do, please ask.”

“Just look in on Dycen’a for us when you get to Coruscant. The Jedi Masters believe he will live. Any information we can learn about his activities will be very helpful.”

“We’ll do that,” Jolee said.

“We have found your visit both enlightening and enjoyable, in spite of the difficult circumstances. We hope you will return to us soon, as we now consider you part of the Li’adin family. May your time and travel be enjoyable,” Kiol’ad said, bowing slightly as the holovid image faded.

Talin downloaded the information onto several datapads. “I’d like to evaluate the data from Aklar’an right away.”

“That’s a good plan. We’ve got a couple of days before getting to Coruscant. No sense wasting it playing Pazaak,” Jolee said.

“I’ll miss out on practicing my Pazaak face, you know,” I said.

Jolee snorted as he handed me a datapad. “You’ll need a lot more practice than one or two evenings.”

Talin raised an eyebrow. “Do I even want to know what this is about?”

“Ask Jae sometime. Less play. More study. It’s been a long few days already playing in a couple bad storms, fighting a Sith a couple times, mending you, and getting the ship repairs finished. I’d like to get something constructive done on this before my eyelids get other ideas.”

We spent several hours poring over the data before Jolee called us all back together. “Let’s do a quick review and then call it a night.”

I pulled up a holomap of the region. “This point in Li’adin space is the planet itself. This spot over here in space is where the vortices always appear.”

Talin furrowed his brow, studying the datapad. He added his information to the map. “I’m starting to see a pattern in his travels. He occasionally went to Nar Shaddaa, but most of the time he went from Telos to the vortices and back. He started to return to Li’adin itself more frequently starting about three months ago, probably for recruiting Singles.”

“Can we find out how far back in time he went? Did he go back in time to Ossus, too?” I asked.

Talin scrolled through the timestreamer information. “Those are very interesting questions. Ah, here it is. He did go back in time about 45 years. We can double check in the archives for any reported anomalies around Ossus and the other planets then.”

“I wonder just what he was doing on Telos for Norelden. We need to find this crime lord,” mused Jolee, looking from the datapad to the map and back.

“Aklar’an gave us his ship registry. Maybe we can see when and where he stopped. That might give us some idea,” I said.

“We also need to find out what he was doing on Nar Shaddaa. By the way, is that registry a legit number?” Talin asked.

“I doubt it. We’ll search through the normal channels of course, but I’d be surprised if he was using the same number once he left the Li’adin system. If it’s not the same, we can ask Mik’oth to help us track it down,” said Jolee. Then he grinned. “I’m quite sure he’ll be delighted to see you again, Jae.”

“No doubt. Maybe I should tell him I bought a dancer outfit. Do you think he’ll prefer something with sparkly blue sequins or a rainbow one with strategically placed flashing lights?”

“I don’t think anyone will care what it looks like as long as the coverage is the bare minimum,” Talin smirked.

Jolee chuckled. “Talin, you’ve obviously recovered completely.”

“You men….” I rolled my eyes, and then smiled slyly. “You know, Talin, Mik’oth does have a Ladies’ Lounge. With your manly physical charms, I’m sure he’d find a place for you with no trouble.”

“I have an out. I’m a terrible cantina dancer.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I never meant to imply you’d be dancing.” I got up from the table and gave him a wink.

Talin blinked, opened his mouth, and then closed it again.

Jolee burst out laughing. “You walked right into that one, lad.”

“Goodnight, boys,” I called out as I headed to my room for the night.

***

The Sith Lord sneered, “You’re not strong enough to kill me, Jae. And I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to turn you.” Jolee was lying on the ground motionless, eyes closed. Talin, wracked with pain, was moaning weakly on the ground, twisted with the horrible plague. The Sith Lord drove his blade down for the attack, and we began our duel. He matched my blows, our lightsabers whirling furiously, blades snapping together. He feinted a blow to my leg, and when I moved to defend, he raised his saber high to bring it down on my head. Too late to block!

My heart raced as I awoke with a gasp. A few deep breaths did nothing to restore calm, so I went to the galley for some tea. I sank down into the common room sofa with the hot drink, hoping my shaking would abate quickly.

Talin padded silently out of his quarters. “You OK?” he asked.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“You didn’t. I was meditating and felt the emotion wave. Was it that dream again?”

“Yes. Jolee’s still asleep?”

“Snoring away. Do you want me to wake him?”

I nodded no as a violent shiver overcame me.

He caught my mug of tea as it slipped. “Your hands are ice cold,” he noted, trying to warm them in his for a moment. “Let me go get a blanket.” He returned and placed it around my shoulders, then sat down next to me on the couch.

“We’re not supposed to fear,” I said in a tight voice, huddling under the cover.

“No, we’re not supposed to allow fear to control us. No one said being a Jedi made us immune to feeling it.”

I shivered again at the vivid images. Talin frowned in concentration for a moment, and I wondered if I had somehow done something wrong.

“Come here,” he said as he put an arm over my shoulders, drawing me in close. I had another spasm of shaking as I laid my head on his shoulder. He adjusted the blanket and then held me tight to calm some of the trembling.

“I can’t sleep. That awful vision will return.”

“You have to sleep sometime. I’ll stay so you don’t have to worry about those nightmares.”

“I’d be keeping you up too late. You won’t be able to rest yourself.”

“I spent way too much time resting last week. Besides, you saved my life. At least let me repay the favor a little by sitting here.”

“What would the Council say about this?”

“Have you ever seen them complain about a Jedi helping someone? Besides, I’m not worried about the Council, I’m worried about Jolee. He’d shove me out the airlock if I left you alone shaking like this.”

“We wouldn’t want Jolee to do that.”

“No, we wouldn’t. You’re almost doing me a favor by letting me sit here.”

I gave him a half-smile at that ridiculous logic and settled against him. We lapsed into a comfortable silence, and the trembling started to calm down.

“I’m glad you decided to stay,” I said after awhile.

He gave my shoulders a little squeeze. The shivers stopped, and I was finally able to slip into a deep sleep, free of the visions.

***

“Caffa’s hot,” Talin said as I walked into the galley that morning. I poured a mug and joined the two men sitting at the small table.

Jolee looked up at me from his breakfast. “Something wrong with your room? You like hanging out on the sofa a lot lately.”

“My room’s fine. I had the vision again,” I replied, sipping slowly on some of the steaming liquid. The heat counteracted the chill from the memory.

“I know this isn’t your idea of a good time, but describe it again for me,” Jolee said, sitting back in the chair. “Give us every detail you can see this time, even the tiniest ones. I’m missing something in the other descriptions, and it’s sitting in the back of my head nipping at my brain like an irritated oller. Ever been nipped by an irritated oller? Those pointy little teeth aren’t dangerous, but they’re sharp enough to be really annoying.”

I sat back and closed my eyes, visualizing the scene. “I can’t see any room details. Everything looks dark and foggy around us. Jolee is lying on the ground, still. Talin is on the ground in severe pain, twisted up from the Scourge, blisters everywhere. Then the Sith Lord appears. He’s human, but it’s too dark to make out his features very well. All I can see is dark hair, a pale face, and eyes glowing with hate.”

“What is it about these Sith and glowing eyes? It’s like a bad holovid,” Jolee said.

I grinned and continued, “Then the battle starts, and the Sith Lord and I trade blows. After awhile he feints for my leg, I go for the block, and he comes at me from above. Since my blade is down, I can’t defend myself. It stops just as I realize he’s going to slice me in two.”

“Hmm. Go through the battle sequence move-by-move if you can. I think there’s something more there,” Jolee said.

“Let’s see…” I pictured the vision in slow motion. “The sequence is rather long.” I went through the set of attacks and defenses.

Talin copied down every move on a datapad as I called them out. He took a few moments to review the entire sequence. “I think I see the pattern. You said in this section here that he’s striking at your head. Show me how he’s doing that.”

Standing up, I pantomimed the moves.

Talin looked back at the datapad again, and pointed to a different sequence. “Here, on this attack. Show me that one.”

He watched closely as I stepped through the stances, mimicking that series of blows. Talin’s eyes widened in surprise as he and Jolee looked at each other. “That’s the Xi-ro form he’s using.”

“Looks like it to me, too.”

“What’s the Xi-ro form? I’ve never heard of it,” I asked.

Jolee said, “It’s a rare form. Doesn’t surprise me you haven’t heard of it.”

“Master Vrook’s the only expert in it. Not very many other Jedi know it.”

“Why would this Sith Lord use an obscure form?” I asked.

“Could be any number of reasons—his master was an expert in it, he wanted to use a form few others have seen to gain an advantage, maybe he just likes the name. However, it narrows the field of people considerably for us. Now we know he’s had Jedi training along with his Sith teaching, and he’s part of a select group. That is, unless Vrook’s started teaching a bunch of students that form,” said Jolee.

“He only teaches it to the lightsaber specialists,” Talin said.

“Then add Master Vrook to the list of people we need to talk to on Coruscant,” I said.

Jolee ticked off the list of people on his fingers. “Yes, Vrook. Then Supat to check on Dycen’a and you two. After that, Telos port authorities and possibly Mik’oth. Finally, Vandar about the information we’ve found and those visions.”

“Oh, not the visions again,” I groaned.

“I’m glad to see you’re cultivating a mature attitude about this. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love listening to complaining. Let’s add it to the Padawan curriculum and have more of it.”

I smiled slightly and then sighed. “All right then, let’s see if we can get an appointment with him first and get it over with quickly.”

“That’s better.”

The Source
05-09-2006, 11:42 PM
Eventhough we have different writting styles, I still like the way you think. I like the technobale talk, and your action sequence was very entertaining and well developed... I can't wait to read more. :)

JediMaster12
05-10-2006, 02:04 AM
Another great chapter Jae. I like where the budding love is heading. My favorite part is where Jae makes a comeback at Talin. I was laughing aloud and still am :lol: :rofl:

Diego Varen
05-10-2006, 02:15 AM
A good Chapter. I wonder how many visions Jae has had of the Sith Lord.

Jae Onasi
05-10-2006, 02:25 AM
I can technobabble with some of the best. I knew all that money I spent on college might some day come in handy: I learned big words to use in fanfiction. :D
Doctor might have me beat in the technobabble vocabulary, though. :)

The 'sparring' terms are taken straight out of the sword-fighting that takes place in our history re-enactment group mixed with a smattering of fencing/rapier and a sprinkle of martial arts. It's how the sword-fighting community describes the blows they give or take (side/offside head, etc) when they discuss the individual fights or rounds of a tourney with each other, since the fighting is not choreographed. Hubby fights, so I get to see the sequences up close (or can ask him if I don't know something).
The whole fic is meant to be more light-hearted than some fare. That's not because I don't want to do something more serious. However, I write chart notes all day and nearly daily email for my volunteer post. In both situations, I have to be very careful about how I communicate so that nothing gets misconstrued/misunderstood, and it takes a lot of energy for me. Dealing with something in a light-hearted matter means I don't have to take it too seriously, and I can just relax and have fun with it. This means the writing style is adjusted accordingly. Of course, since this is only about the second or third piece of fiction I've written since high school creative writing (a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away), it's equally possible (and very likely greater in probability) that it's just frank inexperience talking. :D
But the only way to learn to write is to 'just do it'.
:)

Edit--one of the things I did in a grad history course was this exercise where the prof gave us a pile of data and facts, and the 20 or so of us in the class had to take that info and write a 5 page paper on it. The results were very interesting. We all had the same starting info, but we all wrote 20 very different papers based on that. The differences in writing styles and how we each even perceived and approached all that data was fascinating. We had to read them out loud, and we all learned something different from everyone else's papers.

Edit--@Mac--yep, we do have different writing styles--mine's probably more 'social/conversation' oriented than yours and yours is a bit more action/activity and even thematic oriented. Nothing wrong with that, btw! I just happen to enjoy the people stories/witty repartee of the movies and games just as much as the action, and maybe leaning more towards the conversation than action stuff in my case. Just different ways of looking at the SW universe. :)

@Pottsie: 3 visions so far.
@JM12: When I was running through that part today on my lunchbreak while doing some editing, I had to make sure I wiped the smirk off my face before I left my little office, lest eveyone wonder just what good drugs I was on. I think the staff wondered what the heck I was doing there that made me laugh out loud to myself. :giggle1:

Renegade Puma
05-11-2006, 07:12 AM
And yet again Ladies and Gentelmen, Jae amazes us with two more awe inspiring chapters! Great job JO, keep it up!

Jae Onasi
05-11-2006, 04:02 PM
^

The flight home was long (4 hours on 1 leg, 1 on another), so I had plenty of time to get that last chapter done right after the previous. At least until the laptop battery died, at which time I had to switch to writing notes on my boarding passes because the muse didn't care one iota that the battery died. :)

JediMaster12
05-11-2006, 04:23 PM
Teehee. I guess that means we will be seeing another chapter soon. This...good...thing...co...WE ARE SORRY YOUR CONNECTION HAS BEEN SEVERED DUE TO THE BATTERY DYING :lol:

The Source
05-11-2006, 11:06 PM
@Jae - Very true... Very true.

Jae Onasi
05-13-2006, 12:15 AM
I was in a romantic mood, since today is Jimbo's and my 16th anniversary. :3heart:

Edit: This is a revision of the original chapter 20. Enjoy. Thanks to Emperor Devon and Jiara for the betas. I appreciate it!

If you can't stand romance, skip the section from the asterisks until the second to last paragraph. :) (and Hallucination, no hunky chests in this revision. :D )

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 20: Healing

“He will recover,” Master Supat stated as we watched Dycen’a float unconscious in the kolto tank several days later. The Ithorian Master adjusted some of the settings on the tank and then swiveled his head around to us. “The only reason he survived your attack was your immediate stasis field. It took five master healers to stabilize him. He’ll likely have some permanent damage, but it shouldn’t be too debilitating.”

“When will he able to tell you anything?” asked Jolee.

“A few more days, and then we’ll be able to question him.”

“He was apprenticed to a Sith Lord. He’s bound to know something. Let us know when you find out anything, Supat. I need to go talk to Vandar a bit, so I won’t hold you up any longer. I know you wanted to see Talin and Jae as well,” Jolee said.

“I did. Come with me, please,” Master Supat motioned to us to follow him.

“Meet me in my quarters in three hours,” Jolee instructed us, and we nodded.

Master Supat evaluated me briefly and declared, “All minor injuries, which you healed well.”

Talin was leaning against the wall waiting to see the Master healer next. He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “Master Supat should know that you acquired those injuries in a Class fifty tornado.”

“The scale only goes up to five, Talin,” I laughed.

“Li’adin’s a special case. Their tornadoes start at five and go up from there. Were you planning on letting him know any time soon?”

“Sure, when he asked.”

“Is he supposed to divine that through the Force? He can’t help you properly if you don’t tell him anything.”

Master Supat turned to look at Talin, lifting an eye ridge wryly. “I didn’t need to ask. Jolee already gave me a report of what happened on Li’adin. He knows that Padawans have a tendency to understate their injuries.”

“He knows this, eh? How well?” I asked.

“Quite well. I saw him often enough here when he was a Padawan. He tried to tell me one time that his rib fractures were ‘just a couple bruises’ and that he could go back and finish his lightsaber practice with one of the other Padawans—Andor I think.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Talin shook his head slightly.

“Because it’s Jolee,” I grinned.

“Master Supat, is there a cure for ornery old Jedi?”

He snorted in amusement. “There is no cure for Jolee. He is terminally ornery. Now come, Talin, let me take a look at you.” Talin sat down for the evaluation. “A good healing, Jae. Usually I find something that needs adjusting, but not today.”

“Jolee did a lot of it.”

Talin captured my gaze. “Jolee’s not the one who rescued me from becoming one with the Force. You did.”

“Hmm, Jolee was not very descriptive about that. Please tell me what happened,” Master Supat said.

I stood there until Talin looked away to Master Supat, then I found my voice. “When Talin’s vitals crashed, Jolee and I could feel the ebb in the Force. He told me ‘go get that boy’, so I went. I found him wandering, and I told him it was not his time yet. We cared about him and wanted him to come back. He decided to return.”

“That was all that happened?”

“Yes.”

“That was extraordinarily risky. The two of you already share a small connection because of your injury, and that connection likely grew stronger with this incident. If Talin decided not to come back and you couldn’t break the link, you would both have been lost to us.”

“There was no acceptable alternative, Master Supat. He would have died if I hadn’t gone, and he is too important to the Order--” I stopped. Talin arched one eyebrow. “—and to Jolee and me.”

He smiled slightly in satisfaction.

Master Supat said, “Indeed. Every Jedi is important. Such powerful experiences can create Force bonds. Has that happened?”

“A bond has formed to some degree. We haven’t fully explored the extent,” Talin replied, looking over at me.

“What do you think, Jae?”

I regarded Talin for a long moment. So many different feelings! “I can feel the link, but I’m unsure what to do.”

He acknowledged that with a fractional tilt of his head.

“Hmm. Well, it’s not like you’ve had much time to assess it. While you’re in your meeting with the other Masters, I’ll find some data on Force bonds for you. How is your study of the Scourge defense going?”

“Slowly. Too slowly. I’m concerned that I won’t master it in time.”

“Let the Force guide your learning and it will come more easily. We are researching the Scourge itself, and we might learn something more once Dycen’a has recovered enough to speak. With all of us working together, we will stop it. Now, I declare both of you healthy. Do try to stay out of harm’s way, though that is rather like asking a Selkath to stay out of water.”

We both replied, “Thank you, Master Supat,” then gave him a slight bow as he waved us kindly from the room. We walked out of the Jedi Temple’s infirmary, away from the clinical scents and bustling activity.

“We have some time before meeting Jolee. Do you want to go anywhere?” I asked. The vague feeling of being watched crept through my consciousness. I looked around quickly and saw nothing unusual.

“What’s wrong?” Talin said, eyes darting around, searching for trouble.

“I don’t know. I just had a sudden feeling that someone’s watching us, but I can’t find the source.”

“I didn’t sense it. Maybe it was someone in the infirmary.”

“I don’t know. I only felt it for a brief moment.”

“We’ve been dealing with some very dangerous people. Do you want to go to Jolee’s quarters to wait? It might be safer.”

I glanced around another time and reached out with the Force to find the source, but the feeling was gone. “I’m not sensing anything now. I’d like to see a little of Coruscant. There’s so much to do here, and never any time to do any of it during the apprenticeship. I’ll keep an eye out, though.”

“Let me show you the public gardens at my family’s compound, then. A couple hours’ tour won’t do it justice, but it’ll get us away from anything remotely medical. Especially the smell.” Talin wrinkled his nose so dramatically in distaste that I laughed. He grinned. “Come. It’ll only take a couple minutes to get there.”

* * *

I gazed at the profusion of colorful blooms, breathing in the aroma of moist earth and perfumed flowers. “This is exquisite.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that look of amazement on you before.”

“It’s an Ithorian masterwork. I’ve never seen so many different varieties from so many different planets.”

“I think the gardener studied on Ithoria for awhile.”

“Beautiful.”

“Yes.”

A breathy quality in his voice made me look up at him. His eyes were on me, softness in the blue. I couldn’t breathe--the desire to care battled the fear and the old ache. We stood like that for a long moment.

His quiet voice broke the spell so I could breathe again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“I’m just not sure how to handle all these emotions.”

“The Council’s stance?”

“That’s part of it.”

“Neither of us can deny the bond that formed, nor can the Council.”

“No, we can’t,” I said, giving him a small smile that he returned.

“I won’t ask for any more than you want to give.”

“I appreciate that.” We walked in silence for a bit.

“Do you want to see if there’s anything from Onderon?”

“I’d like that, yes.”

We followed a tiny stream through the various displays until he found the right section.

“Oh, my…” I said as I caught sight of the Onderon blooms, one with perfectly transparent red petals. Roben loved these, too…I pushed the pain away.

“What is it?”

“A glassflower. The petals become clear as they mature. They’re very difficult to grow off Onderon, and here there are so many.”

“You should have it, then.” He reached down to pluck one.

I held a hand out to forestall him. “Talin, I don’t think--”

“Hush. I’m family. I’m allowed to pick a flower at least once a year, particularly if it’s for someone special.” He grinned for a moment as he handed the glassflower to me.

“Thank you. It was—is—a favorite.” I looked down at it, swallowing hard against the lump that formed in my throat.

“Talin tipped his head slightly, looking confused. “Was? Ah, Roben.”

I nodded, watching the clear flower petals rotate as I turned it in my hand. The trickling of the little stream filled the silence. My vision blurred as the tears started to well.

“There was nothing you could have done differently. Master Kavar couldn’t save him, either.”

“I know. It was his time.”

“Look at me. Oh, Jae,” He gently brushed away the tear that escaped. “Why do you do this to yourself? If Roben was the kind of man you’ve described, I know he wouldn’t want this.”

“You’re right, he wouldn’t.”

“What would he want?”

I turned to watch the water bubble over the rocks. Talin put an arm around my shoulder and gave it a comforting squeeze. “He’d want me to stop pushing people away because I was scared.”

“Scared of what?”

“Scared of getting too close and then losing them.”

“Them?”

“Jolee…” I took a deep breath. “You.”

He drew me in closer. “I can’t promise I’ll be alive in fifty years. I can’t even promise five minutes. I do know that some things are worth the risk of that pain of loss, and I know I’d like to spend time with you, know you better, make you happy. Tell me, would you rather have had time with Roben or no pain?”

“Roben, of course.”

“So, you’d do it all over again?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t miss the joys in life because you fear the pain.”

I watched the light glint off the glassflower petals. I buried my nose in the blossom and inhaled the sweet scent, then lowered the flower into the stream. It bobbed up and down as the water carried it away out of sight. My hands trembled as I wiped the last of the tears away. I exhaled away the emotions except one. “Do something for me, Talin,” I whispered.

“What’s that?”

I looked up at him. “What you’ve been dying to for the longest time. Kiss me.”

Hope and uncertainty flashed across his face. “Jae, are you sure--”

I brushed my fingertips against his lips to silence him. “I’m sure.”

His mind touched mine and the wave of warmth washed over me. He leaned closer for the kiss, and my heartbeat quickened.

The scent of the garden changed abruptly. It was that ozone smell that follows on the heels of lightning strike, the smell of the superheated air around a lightsaber, and it filled the area. The hair on the back of my neck rose. “Talin, down!” I grabbed him by the back of the head to pull him out of the way. A blade of angry red light slashed through the now-empty space. I dodged to the side and ignited my lightsaber. “He’s Sith!” I whipped my blade around, catching his. Talin ducked and rolled, then came up with his saber lit.

The Sith and I locked gazes, blades crackling as we pushed against each other. His eyes sparked his hatred. “My master doesn’t like what you did to Dycen’a.”

Hallucination
05-13-2006, 12:49 AM
He removed his shirt
I thought you were gonna try to avoid Memoirs of a Lusty Jedi. :tsk: :xp:

Another Jae-arrific chapter, and happy anniversary. :)

Jae Onasi
05-13-2006, 12:52 AM
He was taking off his shirt for a medical exam. ;P

Thank you!

Hallucination
05-13-2006, 01:02 AM
There is a fine line between a clinical admiration of well-designed anatomy and frank appreciation of a physique. I didn’t even realize I’d crossed that line until Talin looked up and saw my eyes unconsciously evaluating his chest.
That says otherwise. ;)

Jae Onasi
05-13-2006, 02:01 AM
^
[gag warning for those not into mushy stuff]

What can I say. Hubby, great love of my life, inspired me today. :D

Hallucination
05-13-2006, 12:39 PM
Ewww.........
Come for the check-up, stay for the Male Jedi Strippers!

Char Ell
05-13-2006, 02:31 PM
Talin’s mind touched mine through the Force, and the wave of warmth and caring washed over me. My heart started to beat faster as he leaned over, inching his lips closer to mine, prepared to back up and give me time if I hesitated.

The scent of the gardens changed in an instant. An ozone smell, that smell that follows on the heels of a lightning strike, filled the area, and the hair on the back of my neck raised as I sensed the danger.

“Talin, down!” I yelled, grabbing the back of his head and pulling him down out of the way. :freakout: Oh so close. So painfully, agonizingly close. Blasted Dark Jedi getting in the way of some good lip lock. :firemad: I hope Jae and Talin quickly slay his butt and get back to more important matters. :D

Oh yes, Jae Onasi, :bday2: happy belated 16th anniversary to you and the one with the well-muscled upper body that inspires your writing. ;)

@ JediMaster12 - please correct me if I'm wrong but you are a female, yes?

Jae Onasi
05-13-2006, 04:25 PM
@Hallucination-- Oh, my, goodness! The Jedi Med Centre "Quote" was hilarious, especially ironic with your signature on Puritanism.... :lol: And that's why I gave the gag warning. :D I guarantee there will be no naked people here! Besides, bare male chests are rated PG or G. :)

@Cutmeister--Thank you and I'll pass on your wishes to Jimbo. :)

Yes, there's nothing worse than a Dark Jedi ruining that special 'Moment'.

And good luck on finals, if they're not already done!

Jae Onasi
05-14-2006, 05:06 PM
As always, I am grateful for betas from Emperor Devon and Jiara. :)

--------------------------------------------------

Chapter 21: The Chase

“Your master is going to be very disappointed,” I said, stepping out and shoving the Sith's crimson blade to the side. It melted through one of the metal rails and sliced effortlessly through some of the shrubs. The superheated wood smoked and burst into flames. Sentients screamed and scattered in all directions.

He wheeled around and charged with a flurry of blows, pressing me back away from Talin, who had rolled away to escape. Our sabers blurred into circles of light, humming a lethal cadence. So fast! Focus, focus.... He swiped at me and the tip of his blade nearly grazed my hip as I twisted away. The Force became a flood, slowing my racing heart, pushing away the wave of fear. I countered his blow, circling my blade down to trap his. We strained against each other's strength, our sabers moving back and forth as we fought for control. My arms shook with the effort.

He narrowed his eyes, a predator smiling over his prey. “You're wearing down. I'll have you in a moment.”

Talin ran to us and drove his blade down toward the Sith, who stopped it just before it sliced into his head. Their sabers crackled together. Talin whipped his blade down for another attack. I slashed my lightsaber around, snapping through the rain of attacks. We pressed him, and he retreated, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

Two more focused on us! “Talin, duck!” I jumped away, rolling as blaster bolts peppered the ground where we were standing, making plumes of dirt and plants. “Snipers!” I shouted over all the noise.

“Stay with me on the one with the saber. We'll take them all together,” Talin called back.

The Sith leaped at me. I jumped up and ran to put him between the shooters and me. Talin deflected the rain of blaster fire with small arcs of his lightsaber and dashed to my side. He launched a hail of blindingly fast blows. The Sith took quick angry breaths as he struggled to keep pace with both of us. Talin attacked his head, drawing his guard up. I slashed at his side, making a surgically clean cut completely through. His eyes widened in shock and then rolled back as he dropped to the ground in two halves. The shooters backed away, still spraying us with red bolts. I threw my lightsaber after them, dropping one. The surviving sniper turned and ran.

“Nice throw!”

“Better be. Jolee made me practice it enough.”

Talin grinned back and we sprinted off after the gunner. I turned the corner and ducked back as a blaster bolt hit the wall above my head, showering me with chunks of debris. I felt for him with the Force. “He's running again, Talin.”

“Let's go! Keep your guard up in case he does something funny.”

I took a quick look around the corner and saw him running away. We followed him to the end of a landing pad. He stopped short and looked over the edge at the chasm below, eyes darting about.

“There's no escape,” I said to him.

“We don't want to hurt you. Just drop the blaster and we'll take you in safely,” Talin added.

“Look, it's a long drop from here,” I said.

“You're old enough to have heard of jetpacks, sweetheart.”

“You jump from here and you'll be jumping into all that speeder traffic. It'll be suicide. Let's stop all this right now. We can protect you,” I urged him.

He laughed. “Sure. Like I'm supposed to believe anything a Jedi says.” He activated his pack and shot off a line of cover fire. Talin and I snapped our sabers around to deflect the bolts. One of the energy rounds ricocheted and hit his pack, sending him spinning down, away from the platform.

I sucked in my breath in fear. “He's going to get killed in all that traffic!”

“Jae, don't--” Talin held out a restraining hand.

I jumped, using every bit of Force power to span the distance. Time slowed as I flew through the air reaching out for him. I caught him around the neck. He grunted at the impact as we twisted wildly through the air, and then he blinked. “What? How? Damn Jedi.” The shocked look lasted a moment before he grinned. “Any other time, sweetheart, you could be my wildest fantasy.”

“Any other time, you still wouldn't be my type.”

His eyes widened and he inhaled sharply. I looked back. A speeder raced towards us, lights flashing in warning. I twisted to the side to shift our weight, and the pack turned. A line of speeders screamed by. I pulled down on the pack to dodge more aircars.

“Land this thing! Now!” I shouted over the wind.

More speeders flew towards us, and I leaned against him to tilt us away. One of the vehicles grazed the back of the pack and sent us spinning across the lanes of traffic, speeders beeping and dodging around us, creating chaotic swirls. My stomach lurched, and I fought to regain control and slow the spinning.

“How about I kill you first?” His free arm reached for the lightsaber I'd clipped to my belt.

I concentrated, feeling the Force rush out towards him. I worked through the dark recesses in his brain and found the right center. His body went limp and his head lolled as the Force knocked him unconscious. “How about 'no'?” I muttered, reaching for the controls. The button was melted where the blaster bolt had hit the pack. It jerked again as I tapped my comlink, and it nearly slid out of my hand. “Jolee! I have a little problem here....”

Jolee's voice crackled from the tiny speaker. “Let's see. The scenery's not romantic enough. No, wait. Talin's terrible at smooching. Remind me to give him some pointers later.”

“Jolee, I'm hanging on to a merc strapped to an out-of-control jet pack! I need some help here!”

“You know, that's not one of your brighter ideas.”

“Come on! We're in the middle of traffic and we're about to crash into a building....Oh geez, it's the Senate!” I twisted again to avoid another speeder.

“That'll make their day more exciting. Don't worry, you can't hurt it.”

I leaned back to slow the dizzying spin. “Jolee! How do you stop a jet pack with broken controls?”

“Can you open the panel above the controls?”

I looked at the side of the pack and pulled up the plastic door. “Got it. I see a couple power chips—one of them is shorting—it comes on and off.”

“There's a spare chip at the very top. Pull the bad one out and put the spare in.”

“Great, so I can have no control instead of partial control while the chip's out?”

Jolee snorted. “Where'd you learn to be sassy like that?”

“You.”

“Hehe, you have a good teacher. Just trust your old master and do what I say.”

I pulled on the shorting chip. It broke off in my hand. The pack went out, and the sniper and I plummeted down. “I have a BIG problem. The chip broke off in the socket. I can't get the new one in!”

“Well, use the Force, dammit. It's not there just for you to throw things at Talin's head. Feel the air around you, just like Reeca did. Imagine decreasing gravity and making the air thick so it slows you down and acts like a pillow.”

I closed my eyes and felt the air rushing past me, wind whipping my hair on my face. The molecules seemed to rush in under us, cradling us as we fell. Our descent slowed. We fell hard to the ground in a graceless heap. I blew out the breath I'd been holding and wiped the sweat streaming down my face.

“You know, an update would be nice so I don't worry that you're a messy splatter on the ground,” Jolee called over the comlink a few moments later.

“Sorry, Jolee. I had to catch my breath. We're down. We missed the building, and the sniper's out cold.”

“Congratulations on surviving Coruscant traffic. I'll come with help.”

After assessing the soldier for injuries and finding nothing serious, I sat down to regain my spent energy. Jolee and the emergency transports arrived at the same time.

“You made it down in one piece. Good job,” Jolee said.

“It wasn't a pretty landing.”

“You're alive. What more do you want? You're not hurt, though, right?”

I nodded no. “I'm fine, but I had more close calls than I like.” I tilted my head towards the soldier, now surrounded by medical and security personnel. “He'll be out for awhile. I stunned him hard.” Jolee raised an eyebrow. “Well, he compared me to his greatest fantasy. What was I supposed to do?”

Jolee chuckled, then glanced away for a moment. “Look, Talin's coming. I'll let you two chit-chat. I'm sure he'll want to convince himself that you're not imminently dying. Then let's grab Handsome here and get him back to the Temple.” Jolee walked over to the emergency team to give them some instructions.

Talin hurried to me. “You okay?” He held out a hand to help me up off the ground.

I took it, giving it a subtle squeeze. “I'm fine. It was scary, but we're all in one piece.”

He kept possession of my hand as he looked me up and down, then nodded relieved agreement. “You don't look hurt, thank the Force.” Then he smiled. “I'd hate it if I never had the opportunity to fulfill your request.”

I grinned up at him and pushed the damp hair back out of my face. “I'll need a good cleaning, first.” I glanced over at Jolee, who I caught looking at us, amusement dancing in his eyes. I gave Talin's hand one last squeeze before slowly pulling away. “We don't need any prying eyes, either,” I said, tilting my head a fraction towards Jolee. “I hope he won't be mad.”

Talin looked over at Jolee, who had looked away and made himself busy with the sniper again. “I have a feeling he's not going to mind too much.”

“I don't know how he's going to react to the news. This affects so many things.”

“I wouldn't wait too long. He's not an idiot, and it won't take him long to figure it out.”

“I'll tell him soon, don't worry,” I sighed, and we followed Jolee back to the Temple.

* * *

We stopped at the medical facility briefly to discuss the shooter and his injuries and report on the Sith and the merc. Master Supat absorbed all the information and returned to his work, but not before cheerfully needling us with a comment about how quickly those Selkath got back into the water. We walked to Jolee's quarters to await the call to meet with the Masters.

His window offered a view of the courtyard of the fountains. I gazed down at all the water making airy dances, trying to center myself.

“You're going to wear out your collar pulling on it like that,” Jolee said.

I glanced down at my hand and let go of my robe, then turned to the two men. Jolee sat back, making himself comfortable on the soft couch. Talin sat straight in a chair, legs crossed, hands draped elegantly over one knee. “I'm just concerned about what they're going to say about the vision. I imagine they'll want to know what happened in the Kayl Gardens, too.”

“Is that all?” Jolee asked. “You seem kind of nervous for someone who's just had a bad dream and a little scuffle with a Sith.”

I glanced at Talin, who gave me a tiny nod.

Jolee lifted an eyebrow at him and looked back at me. “You know, if there's something you need to tell me, now would be a very good time.”

The door chime rang. I answered it and motioned in a fidgeting youngling gripping a holodisk in both hands. “Master Jolee! A messenger brought this to the temple for your padawan. He said it was urgent.”

“Come in, son. Jae, let's see that disk.”

“What is it?” Talin asked.

“Someone sent me a message. I hope it's good news,” I said, putting the disk into the player. I clicked it on and inhaled sharply. It was the black-robed figure of my nightmares. My stomach roiled.

Jolee asked the young boy, “Son, is the messenger still here?”

“No, Master Jolee. He delivered it, said it was urgent, and left immediately.”

“Did you notice anything else, son?” Jolee asked.

“He was from Coruscant Messengers, least that's what his uniform said. His badge said his name was Im'ran. But that was odd, Master Jolee.”

“Why was that?”

“It is a Twi'leki name, but he's human. He didn't speak like a Coruscanti, either,” the youngling replied.

“Very good observations, son. Run and tell security we'll need the vids from his stop here to see if we can find any other clues,” Jolee instructed.

“Yes, Master!” The boy scampered out, closing the door behind him.

Jolee stood and walked over to me. “Jae, how about you quit staring at that thing like it's about to bite you, and play the transmission?”

I pressed the play button. The shrouded figure's voice was grainy. “Good day, Padawan. I see you met my minions. I'll get down to business. You've taken something of mine, and I was rather fond of it. I'm quite angry about that, but I've decided to show you some mercy. Bring the holocron to Telos Citadel Station, and I'll allow you to continue your pitiful existence.” The shrouded figure's grainy voice had a sinister softness that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Jolee snorted. “Oh sure. We believe that.”

I managed a tight smile at his quip and glanced at Talin. He frowned in concentration at the tall image.

The Sith Lord continued, “If you try to chase me, I will hunt you, and when I capture you, I assure you that you will wish you were dead. Instructions are on the datacard. My agent will contact you in two weeks. Don't keep me waiting.” The image faded out.

Jolee rubbed his chin, then said, “My, he's cocky. This guy must be nuts if he thinks we're just going to go to Telos with our hands in the air saying 'Hey, Mr. Sith Lord, come and get your toy, we trust you.'”

Talin grinned, but a shiver rippled down my spine.

Jolee looked at me and put a hand on my shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Jae, take a deep breath. A little fear is healthy—helps us keep our edge. A lot of fear's no good. Makes you stand there paralyzed like an Ithorian on spice. Trying to get a spiced Ithorian to do anything but stand around staring into space is about as easy as convincing a Cathar to go vegetarian. You just have to accept the fear's there and let it flow out. Focus on what your next action should be, not the fear. The Force will tell you what to do and when to do it.”

I nodded and took a deep breath.

The comm beeped. “Master Jolee, Talin, Jae--the Council would like to see you in a few minutes.”

Jolee said to us, “About time. They've been missing all the fun discussing some useless mumbo-jumbo, no doubt. Let's go.”

At the High Council doors, I adjusted my robe once more, smoothing the folds in place.

Jolee leaned over and said quietly as we entered the chambers, “Don't forget to play it up for Vrook.” He winked and I grinned in return as we went in to meet the Masters.

Char Ell
05-14-2006, 07:49 PM
What's this? Writing on Mother's Day, Jae Onasi? I thought you would be surrounded by adoring husband and children catering to your every whim. You know, breakfast in bed, foot massages, flowers, songs, cooking all the meals and cleaning the whole house, stuff like that. :D

Oh well, so Jae and Talin didn't get an opportunity for smoochin'. There is still hope...

So none of the dark side force adepts Jae and company have encountered thus far have proven to be very skilled. I'm thinking their dark master isn't training them too well, heh-heh-heh. Another reason to join the Jedi instead of the dark side. ;)

Jae Onasi
05-14-2006, 08:17 PM
^
Heh, Mother's Day, with my dear adoring husband and children spoiling me rotten, is why I had time after church to lay in bed either napping or with my laptop cheerfully typing away.
In fact, bless their hearts, they are making dinner right now.
It was too rainy this week/weekend to plant any flowers, which is my usual Mother's Day activity. There is nothing like roses, heliotrope and salvia sylvestris (the big huge one) to perfume the air on a warm summer night. Hopefully later this week I'll get to go play in the dirt.

The Big Bad Boss has not revealed himself yet, and is sending out what he has. One dark Jedi is never good odds against a skilled lightsaberist, a master, and an older Padawan combined.

Talin and Jae will find their moment. ;)

Diego Varen
05-15-2006, 03:52 AM
Great Chapter for yesterday.

JediMaster12
05-15-2006, 06:28 AM
Two marvelous chapters Jae. I can see cutmeister is really holding on to the thought of a good kiss. :D
I thought Chapter 20 was nice and a bit romantic or leading up to an eventual kiss or two. Jolee as always made me chuckle at his personality. Terrific job Jae and happy belate anniversary :)

@ cutmeister: yes I am a female. Can't you tell I am a sucker for good romance? :lol:

Jae Onasi
05-15-2006, 01:01 PM
I can see cutmeister is really holding on to the thought of a good kiss. :D

;) I think a few others are, too. :D


happy belate anniversary :)


Thank you! We had a nice dinner out to celebrate (with kids because both of us forgot to call a babysitter! But it's ok, we like to spend time with them, too.). The rest of the evening we just vegetated, because sitting around doing nothing more important than just being together is actually a luxury at this point in our lives. :)

Jae Onasi
05-16-2006, 12:25 AM
A little longer than the usual, but I think you'll enjoy the extra length anyway.
[Force Persaude] @ Hallucination: Just skip those last 10 paragraphs. Nothing for you to see there.... ;)

Edit: Thanks for the betas, Jiara and Emperor Devon!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chapter 22: The Meetings

“Come, please,” Master Vandar motioned to the three of us. Masters Vrook, Kavar, Vash, and Supat sat in their customary places in the circle of chairs. Sunlight streamed through the lofty windows that soared to the top of the spire. The rays glinted off metal, warming the amber carpet and ivory colored furnishings, lighting up everyone except Vrook. Jolee strode past the tall white center stone and we followed, stopping in the center of the group of Jedi. We all bowed slightly to them.

“Happy to see you, too,” Jolee quipped at the stern Master.

Vrook waved a hand irritably. “Let's get to business. Master Jolee informed us of the visions you've been having, Jae, and Talin's claim that this Sith Lord is using the Xi-ro form.” Vrook scowled at Talin. “Any good student of mine would remember how little it's used, and how very unlikely it is that any Jedi is still using it, much less a Sith Lord.”

“I understand your concerns, Master, but it's the only possible conclusion I can make for that particular pattern of moves,” Talin said.

Kavar noted, “Enough Jedi fell to the dark side in the last forty years that it's entirely possible that form has been passed on. Not that many have ever learned it, however. We might be able to track the Sith Lord this way.”

Vrook snorted. “We'll see. Show me this form, Jae.” I wove through the complex pattern, lightsaber whirling. I stopped and repeated moves as Master Vrook directed. He rubbed his chin in thought, then said, “Well, it is Xi-ro as you thought, Talin.”

Jolee said, “I don't like this one bit. Xi-ro's a dangerous form. Nasty, nasty moves. Hard to defend against, too, since the high-powered strikes come so fast.”

“Jae's form is terrible, too, though to be fair, she's only learned it through a vision. Jae, you'll work with me on it, then.”

“I'm not sure how long we're staying, Vrook. We just got a summons from our nemesis to return his toys.” Jolee held up the holodisk with the message.

Vandar pressed a button on his chair and a holoreader appeared. “Let's see this message, please.”

Jolee walked over to the reader and inserted the disk. The faceless black-shrouded figure appeared. He laughed low, oozing evil. A chill ran down my spine. “Really, Jolee, I would have expected you to remember such a simple message....”

Images flashed before me. The Sith Lord laughing low. Toying with parts of the disk. White flash!

I ran to the holoreader and slapped the control to eject the holodisk. I grabbed it and dashed to the window, holding my hand up and sending a wave of the Force out. The tall window shattered, and I threw the disk away as hard as I could. It exploded in a brilliant white light. The sonic force rattled the windows and pounded through us as I ducked. Then there was silence, and I opened my eyes again and saw only a large cloud of smoke. There was no damage to any other structures. I let out a deep breath in relief and turned back to the other Jedi. Worry flickered momentarily through Talin's eyes as they met mine. I smiled slightly at him and looked over to Jolee. He walked over to me, looking me up and down.

“I'm fine,” I assured him.

“Quick thinking, there. I could kick myself for not anticipating a trap like that,” Jolee said.

Vrook got up and joined me on my other side. The breeze fluttered our robes as he squinted up into the sky and then peered at the courtyard below. “Hmph. Looks like everyone is safe and there's no other damage. Next time, Padawan, just open the window.” He walked back to his seat, sitting down and arranging his robes around him while.

Jolee rolled his eyes. “Vrook, you have a funny way of saying thank you to someone who just saved you from a butt full of shrapnel.”

I choked back a laugh and grinned at Jolee, who grinned back. “Actually, Jolee, I 'saw' the Sith doing something to the disk and then the explosion. I thought I'd better get rid of it before it blew.”

“Well, the message he sent on the holodisk told us he wanted us to meet him on Telos. Obviously the real message is 'I want you dead,'” Jolee told the group as we returned to the center of the room. “We know he's working out of Telos. We need to fly out there and see what we can find.”

“I'm sure my uncle would like to help, too,” I said.

Jolee quipped, “I'm sure Carth will want to lock you up in a stateroom to keep you out of harm's way, too.”

Kavar sat still, frowning thoughtfully before looking at me. “This Sith Lord is aggressive. He acts and uses Xi-ro aggressively. Defense is often lacking when someone is constantly on the attack —use that to your advantage.”

Vash nodded agreement. “You need to go quickly to Telos and take him out before he can gain do any more damage.”

“I have a contingent from Dantooine arriving in a couple days, so I can't go to Telos to fine-tune Xi-ro with you,” Vrook said. “Talin will go with you then. His skills in Xi-ro are adequate enough to teach you. However, you will have to work hard with him to learn it well, Jae.”

“Yes, Master Vrook. I have plenty of incentive, believe me.”

“I'm sure you do,” Jolee drawled. I shot him a sideways look which he ignored.

Vandar turned to the Ithorian healer. “Master Supat, any information from your patients?”

He slowly shook his large head. “No, not much. Dycen'a will be in kolto for several more days. The only thing we could get from the mercenary, even after his mind was opened, was that he'd been hired by Norelden and the Exchange on Telos.”

“That meshes with the information our science team has gleaned from the data you brought from Li'adin,” Vash said to us. “Dycen'a made jumps in time to just before the Ossus supernova. He also made stops at Li'adin, naturally, as well as Coruscant, Nar Shaddaa, and Telos. We sorted the data and cross-checked it with all ship dockings to see if there were any other ships coming in at the same time--he had to have met with this Sith Lord. We didn't find any matches, but there were about 20 suspicious registries. You should be able to find more about the Telosian ones, at least, when you meet with Captain Onasi.”

“The Sith Lord probably changed his ship registry,” Jolee mused. “Mik'oth might be able to help with that, too”

“For a price, no doubt,” growled Vrook.

“I'll tell him to send you the bill,” Jolee retorted, and Vrook rolled his eyes.

Vandar said, “We'll interview Dycen'a as soon as we can, but don't delay leaving for Telos for that. Jae, you'll study Xi-ro with Vrook while here the next couple days, and then with Talin on your journey. All three of you must concentrate on the Scourge defense. We'll contact you with any additional information the moment we have it. All of us sense great danger with this Sith Lord, but everything is still shrouded in darkness and the future is very unclear. Use great care when you contact him. May the Force be with you all.”

We bowed and left the Council chambers.

Jolee rubbed his belly. “I'm starving. I think we ought to take a little trip over to the Eloni Cantina.”

“Talin's in for a treat,” I grinned.

Talin lifted an eyebrow. “Oh? Should I be concerned?”

I grinned even wider. “You'll see.”

“I think I should be scared now.”

“Fear leads to the dark side, Talin,” I said.

Talin shook his head before smiling. “It's never a dull moment with you two.”

* * *

As Jolee opened the doors of the Eloni Cantina, the music pounded and the laughing chatter rushed past us. The gem-colored lights whirled and flashed as we stepped into the warm, night-dimmed main room and searched through the crush of sentients for Mik'oth. We found him and waved when we caught his eye. He waved back, then pressed his way past the patrons of many different species. There were Zeltrons in neon colors, brightly-dressed humans and Arkanians, and the sensual Twi'leks in glittering outfits as they all danced on the dance floor or moved around their tables or the main bar. He smiled and said a few words to many of them before he finally reached us.

“Ah! Lekku-less wonder! How wonderful you're here! What kind of trouble do I need to extricate you from this time?” Mik'oth exclaimed over all the noise.

“Ha! I'd have to rescue you!” Jolee retorted, giving the blue Twi'lek a bear hug.

Mik'oth looked over at me and his face lit up. “My favorite Padawan! Come, let me greet you properly!” He took both my hands and made a great show of kissing both cheeks loudly. “My cantina is blessed with your beauty. I hope you're staying for awhile, though I might have to beef up security to keep your many admirers at bay.” Talin looked at me in amusement and I just shook my head at Mik'oth, smiling broadly.

Jolee said, “Mik'oth, this is Jedi Knight Talin Kayl. Talin, Mik'oth.”

Talin bowed slightly to the Twi'lek. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“My pleasure, to be sure. Friends of the Lekku-less wonder are always welcome here.”

Jolee looked Mik'oth up and down. He was wearing a shiny navy suit with glowing green stripes, and sported fluorescent green rings, vest, and a silk tie to match. Jolee said to him, “You're dressed sedately today.”

Talin coughed back a laugh.

Mik'oth gave him an airy wave. “Well, you know, when the tax man comes, you have to dress conservatively to make a good impression. I decided to turn off the dancing light feature on the stripes and just go for a solid glow to avoid looking gaudy. But you didn't come here to admire my superb taste in clothing.”

“I never underestimate your ability to make an impression with your wardrobe,” Jolee grinned.

Mik'oth tucked my arm under his, patting my hand. “Come, my dear, only the best table for you. Everyone should see how blessed we are with your presence.” He started to weave his way through the brightly-dressed crowd of sentients who were laughing, drinking, or dancing to the fast-paced music.

“Mik'oth, a more secluded table might be in order. I have some business for you.” Jolee sniffed the air and closed his eyes in appreciation. “A little of whatever that amazing food is that I'm smelling would be terrific, too.”

Mik'oth was the master of the Twi'lek pout. He sighed dramatically. “All right, if I have to squirrel you away, we'll use my office suite. You know the way, Jolee. I'll go find us some dinner.”

Jolee led us up to the far more sedate office seating area, done in deep, understated tones and rich fabrics. A large, extravagant desk filled one corner with only a few datapads breaking the smooth surface. The darkened mirrored windows lining one wall allowed a discreet view of the main room below while maintaining privacy. Brightly colored Twi'lek art hung on the other walls, preventing the room from being somber. Jolee sat down on one of the small dark leather couches. I sat across from him on another, and Talin slid into the space next to me. “Mik'oth will just have to settle for sitting with Jolee,” he said to me.

“He'll be disappointed,” I smiled.

“No doubt he will.”

Mik'oth walked briskly into the office, closed the door, then perched on the sofa next to Jolee, fingers laced over a crossed knee. Jolee settled back into the couch, an arm draped over the back, and looked back and forth at Talin and me. “So, what really happened? I've been around the galaxy enough times to know that when a man and a woman go walking around in romantic gardens, it's not generally to study pollen measurements.”

I put my head down in my hand. “Nothing happened,” I groaned.

“Nothing?” Mik'oth asked incredulously, eyes wide.

After I shook my head, Jolee sighed. “Talin, you take my Padawan into a beautiful garden and nothing happens? What is wrong with you, boy? Are you waiting for Hoth to thaw or something?”

Talin flushed and cleared his throat. “Well, the Sith happened before anything else could.”

Mik'oth had a confused look on his face, so I explained the events at the garden.

Jolee said, “I suppose that does put a bit of a damper on things. Then we had the meeting with the Jedi Masters.”

“Oh, they're just beyond stuffy with their silly rules that suck the joy out of life,” Mik'oth replied. Then he looked over at the Talin and me for a long moment. We glanced at each other and looked back at him. Mik'oth rolled his eyes. “Oh, for heaven's sake.” He got up and walked over to us. “Give me that hand, Talin,” he commanded, holding out his. Talin slowly raised his hand and Mik'oth grabbed it. He pointed at me next and waggled his finger for me to give him my hand as well. He made a great show of putting our hands together. “Now, stay that way,” he ordered. He returned to his perch on the couch.

I felt the warm flush creep across my cheeks and looked at Talin, who returned my gaze with a small smile.

Mik'oth sighed to Jolee, “Ah, young love. It's a beautiful thing.”

“Maybe it will be, some time this millennium,” Jolee snorted.

“Well, now, you didn't come to my humble cantina for me to solve Jedi love problems, Jolee. Tell me why you're here.”

“I have something for you, Mik'oth,” Jolee said, pulling out a datacard and handing it to him. “We can't get any information through official channels. The ship registries don't match anything in the government records, and we have about 20 each to go through from Coruscant, Nar Shaddaa, and Telos.”

Mik'oth slipped the card into a datapad. “Obviously they're not going to match anything. You avoid 'official' entanglements by using a false registry. The Senate could clamp down on this kind of thing. Of course, then our good galactic citizens would learn about their little jaunts to their mistresses or spice resorts. So, they'll never enforce the rules. All the better for us, then!” Mik'oth skimmed the data. “Most sentients make the mistake of only using one fake registry. It makes them very easy to track. The true professionals have multiple registries and change them often. I'll have my contacts nose around and see what they can find out. Let's enjoy dinner in the meantime.”

Later, one of the well-built, scantily clad serving girls brought us all caffa and handed a datapad to Mik'oth. He waggled his eyebrows at her as he thanked the green Twi'lek girl, and she winked as she left the office. Mik'oth reviewed the data. “Well, aren't you lucky. Three ships fit the data best.”

“That's lucky?” I asked.

Mik'oth peered over at me. “You're lucky that it's only three. Two are from Telos, one from Nar Shaddaa. Looks like the Telosian ships have docked at Norelden's base several times. The Nar Shaddaan ship is part of Vogga the Hutt's 'unofficial' fleet.” Mik'oth handed the datapad to Jolee.

I nodded understanding. “Ah, stolen.”

Mik'oth poked Jolee in the ribs. “She learns fast, in spite of having you for a master.”

“Hilarious, Mik'oth. It's a wonder you never survived stand-up comedy.”

Mik'oth made an obscene hand gesture at him. “How was I supposed to know those Rodians had no sense of humor after their credit clips disappeared? I ran out of jokes to tell them.”

Jolee chuckled. “On that note, we need to get going. We have a lot to do before leaving for Telos. We appreciate the help very much.”

Talin and I got up, fingertips lingering together a moment longer before we reluctantly dropped hands.

“Sometime you'll have to come in just for pleasure rather than business, you know.” Mik'oth turned to me, took my hand, and kissed my cheeks once more. “As always, my dear, you are welcome here. Talin, you'd better watch out for her. I get very upset if any of my ladies are treated poorly.”

Jolee nodded his head gravely. “Trust me, Talin. You never want to see an angry Mik'oth.”

Talin gave the Twi'lek an indulgent smile before looking at me. “I assure you, I'll give you no reasons to be concerned.”

* * *

Jolee slipped the Accipiter out of Coruscant's orbit and turned it over to autopilot for the duration of the hyperspace jump.

“I need to meditate some on the Scourge defense, and you two need to work on Xi-ro. I’ll leave you to the sparring for now and join you later.”

Jolee went to his room to relax, and Talin and I went to the sparring room.

“All right, let’s work out the sequence slowly,” he instructed. “It starts with defending the left side head, then circle the blade over and attack the leg, then thrust to the chest....”

We worked on the sequences over and over until each move burned itself into the muscle memory.

“There are still a few rough spots as we get farther into the form.”

“I'm trying not to miss that one block.”

“Trying won't do any good if you miss that block with the Sith Lord, damn it. Let’s work on those in particular, full speed.”

Once again the lightsabers glowed, swinging around with loud hums, crackling with an electric hiss as they came in contact with each other. Talin attacked relentlessly with fierce quick slashes. As fast as the Sith Lord.

“You're slowing down. Move it, Jae! I know you can do better than that!”

I grit my teeth and increased my speed again to keep pace as we repeated the form over and over, lightsabers making fiery arcs of light. The image of the Sith Lord striking down on me flashed through my memory, and I turned the wrong way, missing a block. I ducked instinctively.

He yelled “No!” as he pulled up his saber to keep from slicing across my back. It skimmed just above my head and shoulders, then there was silence. I reached for the back of my neck, feeling the fire of the burned skin.

“Oh Force! Are you okay? Let me see!” he exclaimed. He dropped his lightsaber, grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled the neck down and away, then shoved my hand aside to look at the injury.

“Talin! You're choking me!” I gurgled, trying to pull the neck of my shirt off my throat.

“Oh! Sorry!” He gave it some slack and I could breathe again.

I'm fine, Talin. You didn't hit me.”

“I pulled up as soon as I saw you missed the block, but I almost didn't make it in time. You've got some pretty good burns just the same. I’ll go get Jolee,” he said, turning to leave the room.

“No! I’ll be fine in a bit. As long as I'm not dying, all he’ll do is give me guff about learning the hard way and tell me to heal it myself.”

Talin chuckled, relieved. “That he would. At least let me help. I can’t heal like you or Jolee but I might be able to take away some of the pain.”

I nodded, and his hands cooled the fire in my skin. “You have more skill than you give yourself credit for,” I sighed in relief and reached back. The blistered skin had smoothed out and returned to normal. “I think you've healed it completely.” I put my hand on top of his.

He turned me around and gathered me into his arms tightly. His voice was roughened with emotion, “You have no idea how close I came to hurting you badly. Maybe even killing you.”

Circling my arms around his waist, I returned the embrace. “I know how close it was, but we powered down our sabers for sparring.” I looked up at him and saw his anguish. I assured him, “I’m all right, now. So are you.”

His blue eyes, darkened with emotion, held mine. The worry in them gave way to a longing look. He brushed a stray lock of hair off the side of my cheekbone with the back of his hand, and I closed my eyes, savoring the gentle touch. He leaned down, and with a gossamer touch his lips met mine for a brief kiss. My heart beat faster and I sighed deeply as the pleasure shivered through me. He kissed again, this time with an insistent passion that made it hard to breathe.

“Jae, I have a thought on this Scou--” Jolee walked into the room, looking down at a datapad.

Talin and I both stopped and looked over at Jolee. When I made a move to break away, he tightened his arms around me, saying softly in my ear, “Please, stay.”

I relaxed in his arms as Talin cleared his throat.

Jolee looked up. Open-mouthed surprise was followed by a knowing half-grin, half-smirk. He snorted, “About damn time. Carry on!” He turned on his heel and quickly left the room.

I laid my head down on Talin’s shoulder and dissolved into laughter. Talin chuckled, arms still around me.

“I’ve never seen that particular look on his face before,” I said once I caught my breath.

“You know, I was thinking that we should really follow his instructions.” He tipped up my chin with his hand and captured my mouth with his once more, holding me close.

Char Ell
05-16-2006, 12:55 AM
The noise made Jolee look up. The look on his face was priceless—open-mouthed surprise, a re-evaluation that yes, he was seeing what he thought he saw, and then a knowing smile that was half-grin and half-smirk. He snorted, “About damn time. Carry on!” He turned on his heel and walked back out of the room. Yes, by all means, carry on!

:sbdance WOO-HOO!!!:emodanc:

Nicely done, Jae Onasi. A masterful job at creating another opportunity for Jae and Talin to connect, albeit an alarmingly dangerous one. It just makes it more exciting though. :) The long-awaited liplock has finally occurred and isn't it cool that Jae has a master who isn't stuck on the "no emotional attachments for Jedi" dogma. The Force is sometimes kind. ;)

EDIT:
@ cutmeister: yes I am a female. Can't you tell I am a sucker for good romance? :lol: Why yes, I can. :D I don't remember where exactly but it was some other thread where I remembered thinking that you must be a woman based off what you posted. But due to the nature of the forums one can never be sure... ;)

Jae Onasi
05-16-2006, 01:14 AM
Yes, by all means, carry on!

:sbdance WOO-HOO!!!:emodanc:


:rofl:


Nicely done, Jae Onasi. A masterful job at creating another opportunity for Jae and Talin to connect, albeit an alarmingly dangerous one. It just makes it more exciting though. :) The long-awaited liplock has finally occurred and isn't it cool that Jae has a master who isn't stuck on the "no emotional attachments for Jedi" dogma. The Force is sometimes kind. ;)

If you practice any kind of martial art long enough, you're going to get hurt.
Anybody who says otherwise either is lying or isn't teaching it right. It's just a matter of when and how bad.
I had to go to the ER to get an x-ray of my arm because I thought I might have had a minor fracture--poor technique when trying to break a board on my black belt test, though I did break the darn thing on the next try. Anyway, I had to tell my little story 4 or 5 different times (...I hit the corner of the board first instead of center...), because the ER staff a. could not quite believe a woman of my ample size could have earned a black belt (especially with a bad knee) and b. were very suspicious of abuse due to the location of the bruise. My doctor just shakes his head every time I call and say "You see, I was in taekwondo class, and I got hurt....

I've had the 'About damn time. Carry on!' Jolee quote sitting in my head for the last 4 or 5 chapters, just waiting to come out at the right time. Drives me crazy when a great quote pops into my head and I can't use it for awhile. :)
Heh, the Force does move in mysterious ways, doesn't it. :D

Diego Varen
05-16-2006, 02:17 AM
I knew it! I knew Jae was related to Carth in some way, I just didn't know how. Good Chapter as always. And Jae is being a bit bad. Falling in love with Talin. Tsk-tsk-tsk.

Can't wait to see more. You should PM Mach for a Review.

Renegade Puma
05-16-2006, 07:34 AM
“Talin, you take a beautiful woman into the most amazing gardens in the galaxy and nothing happens? What is wrong with you, boy? Are you waiting for Hoth to thaw or something?”

LOL LOL LOL!!!! I laughed so hard at that statement! The last 4 chapters have been great Jae. I am so glad that Jae and Talin have finally jumped in with both feet. The kiss was very well done.

On a different not, I have a theory about your plot. Dycena was traveling back in time about 40 to 50 years. I am going to go out on a limb and say that The Sith Lord in this story is actually Exar Kun himself. I am thinking Dycena started going back in time for his own interest, met up with Kun, Kun corrupted him, Dycena brought him back to this time and walla! Instant Sith Lord using an Old lightsaber form. :)

I know that you won't say wether this is the plot or not, as we will have to wait and see, but that is my "out there" theory for now. Keep up the great work Jae!

JediMaster12
05-16-2006, 01:43 PM
Yes another great chapter Jae. Finally the big kiss. I kind of think the garden scene would have been a lot better for a kiss but this was good. It was another Bindo moment as well.
I catch your drift on injuries. I suffer from tendonitis but I have to engage in physical work that is detrimental to my hands. My hands have been cut, stabbed and nearly crushed. I still have the scars from my last encounter with sharp objects. My knee is like crap because I had a wipe out on a scooter. I know what it's like :D
I have to admit that I was laughing at Mi'koth's dialogue. He is so funnyand I am glad I wasn't drinking milk. It would have been coming out of my nose. I think I might do a sketch of him in his pimp daddy navy blue suit and green lining. What do you think?

Jae Onasi
05-16-2006, 04:24 PM
Yes, I laughed at Jolee asking 'what are you waiting for?' And no, I won't give the plot away. Mainly because I'm not 100% sure of all the details myself yet. :D

The garden certainly would have been a more romantic setting, but I wouldn't have been able to have Jolee walk in on them and tell them to 'Carry on!' , then. :D

"Pimp Daddy outfit" :lol: Too funny! Yes, I'd love to see a sketch. He likes expensive, well tailored clothes that go well with his blue skin. If they happen to be bright, even better. :)

When I started writing this, Mik'oth wasn't even a thought. For ch. 6 I needed someone that Jolee could go to 'out of the regulation loop' for underworld info, and I had a vision of something along the lines of Quark from DS9, but a bit less cynical and a little more lighthearted, but definitely just as smarmy. Up popped Mik'oth, who has taken on a life completely of his own. All I have to do is follow him along and write down what he says to put it in the story.... :)
I may write the Ukatis adventures when I finally finish this one (which is at 115 pages and 62,000 words--never thought I'd be able to write that much!). I'm betting that when Jolee and Mik'oth are actually teamed up together, they're going to make huge amounts of trouble (and laughs). :D

The 'put the hands together and tell them to stay that way' actually happened to Jimbo and me. :) Jimbo's mother, some of our friends, and we were eating dinner at a pizza joint one night when Jimbo and I were in college. Jimbo and I had been writing and calling each other for about 2 months (we lived about an hour apart at that point), and we were definitely 'in cute.' He wanted to introduce me to his mom (who told him later that night she thought I'd make a terrific daughter-in-law!), so she came over for the pizza dinner. Jimbo and I sat next to each other, and across from us sat his mom and our mutual friend Claudia. Claudia, a drama major who was one of my classmates at college, had heard me talk about Jimbo's letters, so she (and the rest of our friends) knew where this was going probably long before Jimbo and I did. About 4 other of our friends sat farther down the table, and all of us were talking and laughing and having a good time. His mom beamed at us, we beamed back at her, we beamed at each other with cutesy eyes, and finally Claudia just couldn't stand it anymore. She rolled her eyes, shook her head, and said "Oh, for God's sake!" She got up, came around the table, stood behind the two of us, grabbed my hand, grabbed his hand, held them up for everyone to see, made quite the show of putting the two together, and pointed at us and commanded, "Now stay that way!!" loud enough for the entire table to hear, if not the whole pizza joint. Then she walked back around to her seat and sat down with a very self-satisfied smirk at her success at making us actually touch. His mom laughed, Jimbo made cutesy side glances at me, and I blushed furiously and made cutesy little side glances back at him. And we held hands the rest of the night. :)
Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.


Edit--if you all could say a little prayer/have good thoughts--my dad had to go in for emergency surgery today for in intestinal obstruction. The surgery itself is usually relatively easy (compared to other surgeries, that is), but he has a bad heart, so general anesthesia's always dicey. He's in surgery now so I won't know anything for a while yet.
Thanks!

Jae Onasi
05-16-2006, 10:08 PM
My dad is out of surgery and doing much better. If they hadn't done the surgery today, they would have had to do a much more serious surgery tomorrow. He's in ICU tonight.

Darth Jester
05-16-2006, 10:50 PM
“I was thinking that we should really follow his instructions.”
Great line there keep up the good work jae.

JediMaster12
05-16-2006, 11:19 PM
Don't worry Jae. Your pop's in my prayers and I pray that God does what he thinks is best even if it may not always be favorable. I pray Pop will be alright and I pray for you. :)

As to the Pimp Daddy outfit, that's what came to mind with all the flashy colors. I'll think of something. Teehee :D

Jae Onasi
05-16-2006, 11:49 PM
Thanks Darth Jester and JediMaster12!

@JM12: He has a lot of people praying for him, but I always feel you can never have too many prayers.

I adore the outfit/sketch idea. I look forward to seeing it. :D

Char Ell
05-17-2006, 12:05 AM
Glad to hear that your Pop is doing better and out of surgery. My best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to him. :) I understand now why the old folks I know talk about their bowels all the time. It's because their bowels give them so much grief. :D *sigh* So much to look forward to with old age creepin' closer and closer. :(
The 'put the hands together and tell them to stay that way' actually happened to Jimbo and me.Awww, that was such an endearing story. You two are too cute with the :hearteye: looks. :) Makes me feel like saying:

Jae and Jimbo sittin' in a tree
K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes babies in the baby carriage!

Seriously though, that's the way it happened, right? ;)

I have to admit that I was laughing at Mi'koth's dialogue. He is so funnyand I am glad I wasn't drinking milk. It would have been coming out of my nose.Been there, done that. About 20 years ago in fact. Apparently the incident was quite memorable because my brothers still won't let me forget about it. :stick: :blush2:

Hallucination
05-17-2006, 12:30 AM
My knee is like crap because I had a wipe out on a scooter.
That's nothing, I once kicked my left eye while skiing. :)

Another Jae-taculariffic chapter, keep it up! You're quickly putting Forcefight to shame. Yeah, that's right. I just said it. You know it's true.

[Force Persaude] @ Hallucination: Just skip those last 10 paragraphs. Nothing for you to see there....
[Failure]*reads last ten paragraphs.* What? It's just a romance thingy, and one of the many things that makes this fic unique. Although I'm pretty happy that the awe inspiring chest you told us all about isn't in here. :)

Jae Onasi
05-17-2006, 12:37 AM
Glad to hear that your Pop is doing better and out of surgery. My best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to him. :) I understand now why the old folks I know talk about their bowels all the time. It's because their bowels give them so much grief. *sigh* So much to look forward to with old age creepin' closer and closer.

Thank you!
I'll have to pass that on to my dad. He has a witty sense of humor so he'll enjoy that one very much.
Growing older beats the alternative. ;)


Awww, that was such an endearing story....Makes me feel like saying:

Jae and Jimbo sittin' in a tree
K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes babies in the baby carriage!



Claudia was nearly as outrageous as Mik'oth at times. :D

Well, I'm not sure if K-I-S-S-I-N-G or love came first (or about the same time even) :), but the rest of the sequence is correct, an order that I highly recommend, btw. :D
Kiddos came quite awhile after we married, because I was going through grad/professional school. Some of my classmates had kiddos while I went through the pro training, but it's not something Jimbo and I could have done. We didn't have the money to raise them on student loans, had the stress of working and professional school, and my Dark Side rears its very ugly head during finals week.
Jimbo would brew a pot of coffee for me, make sure I had some sandwiches, chocolate, and snacks to eat, and then disappear to the basement for the entire week, claiming 'I think I have some projects to do and the workbench to rearrange.'

Been there, done that. About 20 years ago in fact. Apparently the incident was quite memorable because my brothers still won't let me forget about it.
Yes, we siblings do love to tell stories on our brothers and sisters, don't we? (evil cackle)

EDIT:
@Hallucination: OW! Hope you didn't mess the eye up. Ski tips can do a lot of damage, unless something else hit your eye, but that wouldn't be much better....

Whew, comparing to ForceFight is amazing. She's going to do some great things as an author when she gets older if she keeps working at it.

I could always add in another hunky chest scene...but only if it's germane to the plot. ;P

Hallucination
05-17-2006, 01:08 AM
@Hallucination: OW! Hope you didn't mess the eye up. Ski tips can do a lot of damage, unless something else hit your eye, but that wouldn't be much better....
The only thing it damaged was my ego. :) It was my first time skiing, and I tried going to the hill without turning to slow down, so I fell about every 20 metres or so. :D
Whew, comparing to ForceFight is amazing. She's going to do some great things as an author when she gets older if she keeps working at it.
True, but I'm choosing to focus on the fact that she stopped writing PoD, even though I terminate quite a few of my fics. About 9/10.
I could always add in another hunky chest scene...but only if it's germane to the plot. ;P
Just as long as it's not Talin's or Jolee's....:naughty:;)

Jae Onasi
05-18-2006, 02:33 AM
Dad's doing better today and should be out of ICU tomorrow. Everyone's pleased with his progress, and he's feeling a lot better compared to before the surgery.
Thanks for prayers and best wishes, everyone!

JediKnight707
05-18-2006, 03:29 AM
This fic has surpassed my own, so I finally felt it deemable to read this. So far, (I'm about 20 chapters behind ;)) it's pretty darn good.
I'll try to finish it soon!

Renegade Puma
05-18-2006, 07:55 AM
I am glad your dad is better Jae. I was praying for him. And I think you and I both know that God always hears the cries of his children. :) I can't wait for your next chapter!!

Jae Onasi
05-18-2006, 02:19 PM
@JK707, thanks, and boy, do you have a lot of reading ahead of you. :D
@RP--I appreciate it much.
Next chapter is coming slowly together.

Darth Jester
05-18-2006, 02:39 PM
Can't wait to see the next chapter I am officially hooked.
on a side note is it possible to make a list of all the bindoisms?
(if that is even a word lol

Jae Onasi
05-18-2006, 05:26 PM
It is possible to make a list, though it'll take me awhile (this is 115 pages in Word so far, probably more to my amazement than anyone else). I'm coming up on a reporting deadline for my volunteer post, have 3 major activities over the next 3 weekends (two of which require some signficant travel) and a vacation (finally!) in mid-June. So, it may take me awhile, possibly into early June when my kiddo is done with school and we have more time to just hang out at home and have fewer responsibilities.
I didn't want to say yes and then leave you wondering why it wasn't getting done immediately. :)

Jae Onasi
05-20-2006, 01:20 AM
Chapter 23: Telos


The days in hyperspace passed quickly with all our studies on the lightsaber form and Scourge defense. Talin and I sat down for breakfast the morning of our arrival to Telos to review plans for the day, holding hands while eating and looking at datapads.

Jolee found some coffee and joined us. A bemused look crossed his face when he noticed our hands, fingers lightly interlaced. He took a sip of coffee, and in a nonchalant voice asked, “So, are you fooling around yet? If you’re not, you should be.”

Talin looked up at Jolee, having enough control to keep his face passive save the raised eyebrows. Having just taken a sip of coffee myself, I nearly spit it back out, tried to swallow, and ended up choking on the hot liquid that ran down my throat the wrong way. Both Jolee and Talin tried pounding on my back to make the coughing spasms die down. I wasn’t sure if that made things better or worse. My eyes watered as I tried to clear my throat.

After three inarticulate gurgles, I managed to exclaim in between more coughs, “Jolee! What kind of question is that?”

“A really personal one, because I’m old and worldly enough to take great delight in making young women blush furiously while choking on their coffee,” he replied with a wide grin.

Talin merely smiled at Jolee and put an arm around my shoulders in sympathy at Jolee’s teasing.

“You can be just as bad as Mik’oth,” I noted, any semblance of composure completely gone.

“I know. Maybe even worse.” If anything, his grin widened.

Talin smiled once more, and then his brows knit into a more serious look.

“Got something on your mind, son?”

“Actually, yes, and I would like you both to hear me out.” He took my hand in his once more.

Jolee commented, “This is beginning to sound rather serious. It’s a little early to propose, don’t you think?” The grin turned to a look of pleasant attentiveness as he listened to Talin.

“Our relationship is still a bit too young yet for the marriage discussion, and I have something else in mind. Now, we all know that the Council is going to be quite displeased at the idea of Jae and me pursuing a relationship.”

“You have no idea how much I look forward to seeing the look on Vrook’s face. But that’s just a bonus to knowing the two of you lovebirds are happy. We can deal with the Council difficulty when we reach it, and I don’t have a problem leaving the Order again if they make a big fuss about it. You both already know how I feel they should not be discouraging love. But I’m interrupting like any other old man. Go on.”

Talin continued, looking at me, “Jae, I thought the last thing I ever wanted to do was leave the Order. But I’d do it for you in a heartbeat.”

I swallowed hard against the lump that rose in my throat from all the emotions rising up like a river threatening to overflow its banks, squeezing his hand tightly.

“I don’t think it will come to that. They can hardly refuse you with all the other fine examples like the Sunriders and the Harradins,” noted Jolee, rubbing his chin in thought as he considered the possible ways of handling it before the Council.

“Nevertheless, I want to stay in the Order and be with the one I have come to care so deeply for.”

I added, “I share those same feelings. While I, too, would leave if I had to, I don’t want to, and I think they need to keep every Jedi they can. It will be difficult, but I know we could stay together and stay in the Order at the same time.”
Talin squeezed my hand in return, peering deep into my eyes, a pleased look softening his angular features.

“Here is what I suggest,” Talin said after clearing the emotion from his voice. “I would like to ask you, Jae, if you would consider a formal courtship, and you, Jolee, if you would approve. I know it is rather an old-fashioned concept, and we don’t, strictly speaking, need anyone else’s approval—you are your own woman, Jae, and I am my own man. However, if you agree, I will also request the same from Captain Onasi, as your relative. Since you are a member of Queen Talia’s household, I will also ask Her permission. I will dispatch a request to Prince Stef, who leads House Kayl on Alderaan. He’s my cousin and good friend—we’ve known each other since childhood. He won’t refuse.”

“After Carth saw how Revan saved Bastila, I can’t imagine he’d refuse,” Jolee asserted.

“The Queen released me from fealty before I left for my training, but She will appreciate the courtesy. I’d be extremely surprised if she said anything other than yes.” I turned towards Talin and took his other hand. “I accept your request for a courtship.” I leaned over to place a happy kiss on his lips, which he returned with pleasure.

“You won’t get any argument from me. I knew you’d be doing something like this pretty much the moment you both laid eyes on each other. Well, maybe not exactly then, but definitely from the moment you had your first little spat.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked.

“What, and ruin the surprise? When you get to my age, you get your amusement where you can, you know, and watching the sparks fly between the two of you has been quite entertaining. If it didn’t work out, no one was the wiser, well, except me. No, you had to figure it out for yourself. Talin, I like how you think. If you went to them alone, the Council would find it difficult to deny you two, but not overly difficult, and you both might be forced to make some hard decisions. Having the support of a Queen, a Prince, a Jedi Master, and a future Republic Admiral will make it almost impossible for the Council to say no. You don’t have to ask Mik’oth, but I know he’ll be thrilled for you, too, and he has some very interesting friends in some very powerful places. Feel free to take his name in vain when you do all the other name-dropping.”

A chime rang, indicating that we were nearing the end of the hyperspace run.
“Well, Telos, here we come.” Jolee said.

* * *

“I’m going to meet with my uncle in about an hour, and I’ll take our information and go over that with him,” I informed Jolee.

Jolee nodded agreement, “Sounds fine, Jae. I’ll meander over to the cantina to see if there’s anyone there from the old days who can put me in touch with the Exchange there. If not, I may have to drink a few people under the table. Remind me to pack the alcohol inhibitor stims.”

“If it is all right with you, Jolee, I’d like to accompany Jae.”

“You don’t mess around when there’s work to be done, do you, lad?”

Talin grinned, “I already sent off a message to Her Majesty and His Highness. I did ask for discretion, especially since Queen Talia has a close working relationship with Master Kavar. I’d like to have everyone’s support before we petition the Council.”

“Sounds good. Meet me in the cantina when you’re done, but if I’m in the middle of something, find another table unless I wave you over.”

* * * *

We arrived at the Eye of the Osprey, in full robes, both of us holding our hands together, tucked under the sleeves.

Captain Onasi greeted us formally, standing tall and military-stiff, as we waited to board his ship, “Request permission to come aboard, Captain!” I smiled at him.

“Granted. Welcome to the Osprey.” He smiled back and gave me a quick wink that his staff couldn’t see from their vantage points.

“Captain Carth Onasi, may I present Jedi Talin Kayl?”

Carth shook hands with Talin, saying, “How do you do? I’m honored to have two Jedi aboard my ship.”

“The Jedi Council sends their regards,” Talin said in a pleasant tone.

“You’ll have to send them my greetings in return. Is Jolee joining us?” Carth inquired.

“He is conducting his own investigations, but he said he will join you for dinner,” Talin replied.

Carth gave us a knowing smile. “He’s checking out the cantina, isn’t he? Or should I say the dancing girls? He may put on the ‘old man’ act, but I think he’s probably more active than some of my youngest ensigns.”

I laughed. “You know him well, then.”

“Come. Let me introduce the two of you to my senior staff.”

Carth introduced us to his subordinates with the propriety appropriate to his rank, and we greeted each officer politely. Once in his quarters, however, he picked me up, swung me around once in joy, set me back down, and kissed both cheeks. I laughed aloud at the exuberant greeting.

“You get prettier every time I see you, Jae. How is my favorite niece?” he said, pushing a rebellious strand of dark hair away from his deep brown eyes.

“I’m doing just fine. You look well, too. How are you? And how is Dustil?”

“I’m the same as always. The Navy keeps me busy. Dustil tells me the masters are pleased with his progress, and I’ve made a point of keeping in close contact with him. I have to make up for a lot of lost time.”

“He’ll make a good Jedi, and he enjoys hearing from you more than you know. He doesn't harbor that anger anymore.”

"Being a Jedi seems to suit you, though I heard you were hurt a few months back. I was on a mission, and I didn’t receive the news until you were nearly fully recovered.” His forehead wrinkled in concern.

“They tell me it was bad for a bit, but I have no side effects otherwise. I did receive your hilarious card and flowers, by the way, and I appreciated it very much.” I decided to change the subject. “I heard that congratulations may be in order. Should we prepare a reception for a new rank?”

“I’m still thinking about it. It’s quite an honor, but it’s a tremendous responsibility. There’s so much to oversee here on Telos, too, and Lieutenant Godsey is retiring as Security Chief on Telos station in about nine months. I hate to leave him in a lurch trying to break in a new captain so soon before retirement. My XO is one of the best. If I leave, it’ll be hard to train a new one.”

“Carth, a project of this magnitude won’t be done for decades. Lieutenant Godsey, if he is a good man, will adapt just fine to a new captain. You can’t stay at the rank of Captain forever, any more than your XO can stay a Commander. Besides, you could still oversee the project as part of your duties as Admiral. You just won’t be forced to deal with all the little daily details.”

“You know, Admiral Dodonna said something remarkably similar to that. Then again, the Onasi women have always shown greater wisdom than the Onasi men,” Carth smiled widely. “Come, sit,” he said, offering us a choice of seating. I chose the couch, and Talin sat down next to me, with just enough distance to be circumspect.

“You received our transmission, Captain?” Talin asked.

“I did, and my XO, Commander Aichon, has already been making some very discreet inquiries about Norelden’s role in the Exchange over the past year. In fact, he’s on Telos station right now investigating quietly. He should have some information for us at the mess tonight. We also checked on the ship registry, and not surprisingly, we came up with nothing.”

“We have three other illegal registries that may have been used here,” I said, handing Carth a datacard.

“I’ll have to check on that. We probably won’t have anything before dinner, though. It’s not the Scythe, however. We found it floating in space, heavily damaged. We had to scuttle it because the damage was so bad.”

“There’s also the matter of the Force Scourge,” Talin said.

“We’ve had nothing here on the ship at all, though we heard rumors about it happening a few times on Citadel station. My medical officers were in a frenzy trying to get any information they could get. Once we learned it was a Force power and not something communicable, the medical team was greatly relieved.”

“I certainly would have been concerned if I thought it might be something transmissable,” I said.

“Did you have anything else for me or any questions?”

“Yes, Sir, I do,” Talin said, taking my hand in his. “I would like to ask you for your approval to court your niece.”

Carth lifted his eyebrows in surprise and looked over at me. When I smiled back at him, his eyes crinkled happily and he grinned. “Well, you’re going to have to tell me all about yourself, Jedi Talin. I’ll warn you, though, that there are very few men who will meet my standards for my niece.”

I shook my head slightly in amusement. When Carth saw my smile, I knew he had already approved.

* * *

Talin and I entered the cantina, the power of the loud music nearly making me take a step back. Numerous sentients of at least seven or eight different species filled the tables and booths, and the bartenders were busy preparing a colorful variety of drinks for the patrons. We found Jolee at the cantina sitting with an arm around a Twi’lek dancing girl while enjoying a juma juice. We slid into the booth with the two of them after he gave the high sign for us to approach. She got up and waggled both her headtails and fingers at Jolee, smiling coyly over her shoulder as she walked away.

“You two just ruined a perfectly good time. We were having a wonderful talk.”

I snorted my disbelief. “Since when did dancing girls become conversationalists?”

“They can be very conversational, depending on the subject.” Jolee winked. “Did Carth say anything interesting?”

“We filled him in on what we’ve found so far. The ship registry was not used here, either, and he’s going to check out the registries Mik’oth gave us. He said that the Scythe was found drifting and it was destroyed. He also mentioned his XO has been conducting some discreet investigations on the Exchange here,” I replied.

“I was talking about the two of you, but thanks for the mission update.”

Talin’s lips upturned ever so slightly at Jolee’s quip. He said, “Captain Onasi is quite protective of his niece, I learned. After a thorough interrogation, however, he grudgingly approved.”

“He liked Talin.”

Jolee signaled for the server. “A round of willek juice for us, please.” He turned back to us, saying, “I found one of my old contacts here. She’ll be along shortly.”

A green Twi’lek strolled over to our table, sultry eyes on Jolee. She had the voluptuous grace of a dancer, though she wore far more clothes than any Twi’lek dancer I had seen. Her age, approaching Jolee’s, didn’t detract as it might for some, but merely enhanced her appearance by giving her a worldly and experienced air.

“Why hello, Jolee,” she said in a low melodious voice that had seduced more males than she could probably count.

“Hello, darling.” Jolee gave her a quick kiss on the cheek in greeting, and they shared a warm knowing look. “Meet my little party. De’layn, this is Jae and Talin. I’ve worked with De’Layn before, and she can be trusted completely. She has, ah, connections to the Exchange here.”

We stood to greet her, and then made room for her to join us. Jolee ordered a drink for her as well.

“My little group of ladies is in the business of gathering information,” she said, looking at us with her enticing eyes, leaving unspoken the methods they utilized. “Well, Jolee, I understand you have an interesting problem.”

“We certainly do. We have a Sith Lord to track down, and we think he’s connected to Norelden’s operation somehow. We’ve got three different illegal registries to sort through. We had a time-travelling Li’adin who was picking up little souvenirs off of Ossus and bringing them back to our time, and we don’t know what or how many. He ran around traveling between Coruscant, Telos, and Li’adin, in between his little jaunts back in time. We took him out on Li’adin, and when we sent him back to Coruscant, the masters couldn’t save him.”

Jolee’s lie about Dycen’a was so smooth I nearly believed it myself. The Council wanted the Sith Lord to believe Dycen’a was dead, and so they had carefully ‘leaked’ news about his ‘demise’. They hoped the Sith Lord might show himself without an apprentice, and it eliminated assassination attempts on Dycen’a.

“We’d heard about a Sith apprentice being captured and dying,” she nodded.

“We came across a derelict ship that had escaped from somewhere around here. Inside were three people who had been hit by a Force power that looked a lot like plague. And just to make our last few weeks more interesting, we’ve also had a few brushes with some mercs and a dark Jedi. Two of them came from Norelden’s outfit.”

“Norelden’s not your Sith Lord. Someone in the organization might be, but he’s not. He has absolutely no Force skill whatsoever,” De’layn said, relaxing back against the seat, sipping her drink.

“Any ideas who, then?”

“None at the moment, but it’s someone connected to Telos. One of my ladies is on the inside at the main hospital, and there has been some hush-hush activity going on there the last few months. Plague was one of the words bandied about. Anyone connected to it immediately learned to stay silent or was silenced. Let me see the ships’ registries.”

“Dycen’a’s ship was destroyed. These were the registries that seemed to match the times when his ship was on Telos or Coruscant. We’re hoping that if we can figure out which ship it is, we can look for other ships that docked around that time and see if there are any links. Dycen’a had to be meeting with someone.”

She frowned elegantly as she reviewed the data. “Vogga’s ship is out. None of his ships have been docking here for several months. Everyone would have thought it very odd if a ship with the Hutt’s registry docked for no apparent reason. He and Norelden had a bit of a falling out about prices, you know. That leaves the Scythe and The Measure of Fujita. I think it may be the Fujita but I’m not one hundred percent sure. I may be able to find something more definite for you this evening. Perhaps you could join me for dinner, Jolee?”

“Unfortunately, my dear, I already have a previous engagement for dinner.”

“Then come for a nightcap, darling, and we can discuss it leisurely.” De’layn said in a purring voice, placing a hand over Jolee’s. “While your two companions are charming, I’d like to have a tete-a-tete to discuss some discreet matters. I can arrange for some entertainment for you, Jae and Talin, since I am so rudely stealing away Jolee.”

Talin said, “That is very kind of you, but it will not be necessary.”

“I thought you’d never ask, De’layn,” Jolee said with obvious pleasure in his eyes. “And yes, I have no doubt my charges can find something to do with themselves for an evening.” Jolee gave us a wicked grin.

Char Ell
05-20-2006, 01:50 AM
<_<
>_>
Wow! Uh, is it just me or did it suddenly get hot in here? :brow:

Nice plan by Talin. Getting everybody's permission before approaching the Jedi Council may make it more difficult for the council to dismiss Jae and Talin from the order.

So what is this? Jolee as a dirty old man? I thought he would have sworn off the oppposite sex after his last relationship. He just doesn't hold other people to his same standard. :p

JediMaster12
05-20-2006, 02:15 AM
Well done Jae. I was laughing at the beginning. I was lucky I wasn't drinking anything otherwise I'd be cleaning a monitor. :lol: :rofl:
Jolee is getting a bit more wicked in his teasing and it just makes me laugh. I agree with cutmeister about Talin's plan to ask permission. I reinforces the old chivalry and the politeness that I think a man should do if he wants to court a lady.
Good job and I wait eagerly for the next chapter.

By the way, it's nice to hear about your Pop. I hope he's getting better. He's probably a tough old goat that's hard to kill. Glad to hear he's a-okay

Jae Onasi
05-20-2006, 02:32 AM
@cm--I'm not so sure he's totally sworn off marriage--I just think he was hurt so bad that he wasn't ready to even consider another relationship for a long while. However, if the right woman came along again, I think he'd be married again in a heartbeat.

Even if he has sworn off marriage, in the game, he makes the comments "Elusive? Me, elusive? Heh. Obviously you've never tried to grab a Twi'lek dancing girl after drinking too much Ondaran willek juice," and "Exactly. You're still at the beginning of your life. There will be men in your life... perhaps many men... but if you're fortunate you'll find love once."
So, I ran with it. ;)
Of course, he just loves the ironies of life and seeing how people react, so I wouldn't be surprised if he really did go with her just for a drink and some talk but let everyone else's imagination go wild. :D

Talin's maneuvering reminded me a bit of Lyndon Johnson when he was Senate Majority Leader in the '50's, counting votes and building an alliance bloc that would be unbeatable. It's been said LBJ knew the outcome of an important vote before any senators had even cast their ballots on a bill. He had the supreme ability to know where each senator was on an issue, keep his allies in line, and woo his enemies over to his side. He spent a tremendous amount of time on the phone talking to other senators confirming their support, encouraging those who might be wavering in their support, and working with opponents in order to turn them into supporters. Yes, it involved a tremendous amount of wheeling and dealing, and he was a master. Since LBJ held so much sway over so many senators, if he said he'd support your bill if you supported his, you could pretty much guarantee he'd come through with the votes for you. That and he controlled appointments to committees. If you want to get money for your district (and thus get re-elected), you want to be appointed to the Appropriations or Armed Services committees where the money is, not the Environmental committee. He was a master politician.
Anyway, Talin's not about to leave anything to chance when he has the opportunity to influence the outcome in his favor. :)

@JM12--yeah, the beginning :lol: that one's another 'came from real life' moment. Fortunately, I wasn't drinking anything to choke on at the time. I have unique friends. :D

Yes, my Dad is improving, and I do thank you all very much for continuing to think of him and pray. He's out of ICU now, happily.

Diego Varen
05-20-2006, 05:44 AM
A good Chapter.

Jae Onasi
05-21-2006, 12:08 AM
Heh, I was writing some notes out for the rest of the story while sitting at the first aid table at our taekwondo tournament in between sending a guy to the hospital for a bad concussion and treating a broken nose (it was far more 'exciting' today than I would have liked). I realized that I have a continuity error that I have to fix, occuring somewhere between chapter 17 and the latest.

A Bindo prize goes to whoever can find it before I fix it.

The Bindo prize gains you no money, prizes, gifts, or anything else but fame (and that's marginal at best), and that's only within this thread. :D
I couldn't tell you if this carries greater or lesser prestige than Machievelli's 'Whatever Prize', however. :)

Dad is doing quite a bit better, and hopefully will get to go home on Tuesday. (yay!!)

edit: fixed the two errors I had, so you get a Bindo prize if you found either one. :)

Hallucination
05-21-2006, 03:48 PM
Well, I couldn't find those errors, but I'm sure someone else here could. @Anyone who finds the things: PM them to me first so I can make sure they're O.K. <_< >_>

Good to hear you're dad is doing fine. :)

One thing: In the last chapter wouldn't Jae be polite and ask about Dustil? Or did Revan kill him?

Jae Onasi
05-21-2006, 04:40 PM
^
:D

You know, you're right, she would have asked about her cousin. I'll go fix that one, too--if not in the last chap, then in the next.
I'll give you a Bindo prize for that--it'll look nice on the shelf next to your Whatever prize. :D
Thanks, too, for thinking of my dad.

Edit: fixed that. Now I can move on since the mistakes aren't bugging me anymore. :)

Hallucination
05-21-2006, 07:17 PM
I'll give you a Bindo prize for that--it'll look nice on the shelf next to your Whatever prize.
W33t Huzzah! I'll be putting that right beside my Whatever prize on my couch, standing on top of my laundry, the place where only the most honourable stuff goes.

Muahahahaha, soon I shall take over the CEC with hopes for better health and pointing out things people have forgotten... Wait... That won't work.... Meh, it's too late to stop. :xp:

Jae Onasi
05-21-2006, 07:35 PM
^
As long as the laundry is clean. I'd hate to know that a Bindo prize is perched atop a pile of dirty, smelly undershirts. You have to have respect for these things, you know. :D

Hallucination
05-21-2006, 07:46 PM
Of course they're clean, I don't want to get in trouble with the RCPP (Royal Canadian Prize Police). ;)

Char Ell
05-21-2006, 08:52 PM
@cm--I'm not so sure he's totally sworn off marriage--I just think he was hurt so bad that he wasn't ready to even consider another relationship for a long while. However, if the right woman came along again, I think he'd be married again in a heartbeat.I dunno. I think the woman would really have to be someone really special to give Jolee the :hearteye: again to where he would start thinking about the "M" word.

Even if he has sworn off marriage, in the game, he makes the comments "Elusive? Me, elusive? Heh. Obviously you've never tried to grab a Twi'lek dancing girl after drinking too much Ondaran willek juice," and "Exactly. You're still at the beginning of your life. There will be men in your life... perhaps many men... but if you're fortunate you'll find love once." Yeah, I guess you're right. I think Jolee at this point in his life is a playah, all flirtatious with the dancer girl-types but nothing beyond wining, dining, and flirting. Probably to some degree because he is a Jedi but mostly because of what he went through with his wife.
I realized that I have a continuity error that I have to fix, occuring somewhere between chapter 17 and the latest.

A Bindo prize goes to whoever can find it before I fix it.Aw, shucks. I was too late in reading this since you already fixed it. No potential Bindo prize for me... :cry6:

Glad to hear your dad is doing better. The sooner he gets out of the hospital the better though cuz hospital food is :barf:.
This fic has surpassed my own, so I finally felt it deemable to read this. :eyeraise: That is so magnanimous of you to decide it was at last worth your time to read Jae Onasi's story. :roleyess: Maybe it's just me but your statement seemed to have a condescending tone to it. :indif: But now I'm curious as to what criteria you use to determine how somebody else's fan fic surpasses your own?

Hallucination
05-21-2006, 09:09 PM
^He's a horny 13-year-old, he thinks he's the best at everything, at least until he gets put into a locker. You can see it in the following equation: 13 year old + modesty= myth². ;)

Sable Phoenix
05-21-2006, 10:01 PM
Yay for hot steamy kiss scenes and mushy stuff! Jolee's various, er, comments on those developments had me laughing into my monitor's face.

And it's all seasoned with a heavy dose of lightsaber action and barnstorming. Woohoo!

And we finally find out exactly how Jae is related to our beloved orange-jacketed pilot! My only gripe is that you've made Revan male, so poor Carth isn't getting any action (I always found the female Revan story to be much more well-rounded and compelling)... but that is the player's choice after all, so. >shrug<

Love this stuff!

Jae Onasi
05-22-2006, 12:00 AM
@cm--definitely would have to be a very special type of woman for him--I totally agree with you on that.

error 1--had them looking for Dycen'a's false ship registry, so I had to explain why they'd be chasing down a registry on a ship that's laying in little pieces on Li'adin. :)
error 2--De'layn magically had a drink at the table without an order, because Jolee had ordered a round before she arrived. (which I didn't catch til today, actually)

Heh, my dad hasn't made it to "real" hospital food yet--he's still at the broth-and-jello stage, which is probably better than any other food.

About JK707--sometimes things get lost in translation on forums/emails because we get zero facial cues that would show that it was irony or joking, even if that potential is small. So, I chose to ignore any 'attitude' at this time until it's proven to be an attempt to be truly offensive. But I appreciate you coming to my defense. :)

@Hall--all I can do is laugh at that comment, because I don't touch with a 10 foot pole anything that involves a combination of 'horny' and 'underage.'

@SP--I prefer LSF for Revan (the angst is too good to pass up), but decided to go with the LSM for the story as more 'canon.' That and I don't dare add another sub-theme (Carth waiting for Revan to return, which could be a novel all by itself) to the story--you should see the notes I have trying to keep up with what I've got now. I'm trying to find that balance between action and informational/backstory stuff. The movies all have lots of action interspersed with times where the characters get a few moments to breathe, get needed info, and make witty comments to each other, so I'm trying to make sure to have those elements, too.
Thanks! :D

Sable Phoenix
05-22-2006, 04:06 PM
@SP--I prefer LSF for Revan (the angst is too good to pass up), but decided to go with the LSM for the story as more 'canon.' That and I don't dare add another sub-theme (Carth waiting for Revan to return, which could be a novel all by itself) to the story--you should see the notes I have trying to keep up with what I've got now. I'm trying to find that balance between action and informational/backstory stuff. The movies all have lots of action interspersed with times where the characters get a few moments to breathe, get needed info, and make witty comments to each other, so I'm trying to make sure to have those elements, too.
Thanks! :D

Ooh, ooh, but!

I just got hit with an idea, you wouldn't have to make a the whole "waiting for Revan" thing a true sub-theme, it could just influence the way Carth approaches the Jae/Talin thing. I can just see him leaning forward and speaking to Jae in that terribly earnest way he has, "Don't be tentative in love; take hold of it with both hands and enjoy it to the fullest. Spend every moment with the person that you can." And then his gaze would shift to something a million miles away and his voice would get all soft and sad: "You never know how long you'll have them."

Oh man. Now I need to go write. Thanks a lot, JaeOnasi! :lips1:

Jae Onasi
05-22-2006, 04:13 PM
"Suck the marrow out of life...."

Go for it! Sounds like a good one for the latest kfm challenge.... :D

Jae Onasi
05-23-2006, 01:47 AM
Chapter 24: Ship Registries

“So, just who is De’layn?” I asked, looking over at Jolee with a raised brow as we left the cantina to make our way back to the Osprey for the dinner with Carth.

“She’s a female Twi’lek, attractive I might add, who is in charge of an information business. She has cultivated some unique connections.”

“I mean, how do you know her?”

“Well, why didn’t you ask that? Pfft. Young people these days just don’t know how to ask the right questions. Always asking one thing when they really mean another.”

I waited for an answer for quite some time before looking at him and saying, “Well?”

“Oh, De’layn? Here I thought you’d get distracted by Talin’s blue eyes and forget all about the question so I wouldn’t have to get a dry mouth telling you the story. I hate how you young people complain about how boring my little tales are.”

“I’ve never complained about any of your stories.”

“Hmm, well, you’re right. I guess I’ll tell you then. De’layn was a fellow apprentice at the academy.”

“Ah, that explains how she knew without a doubt that Norelden had no Force affinity,” Talin noted.

“You really are in love, if you managed to actually concentrate on what she was saying and not be distracted by her gorgeous looks.”

Talin replied in a dry tone, “I find I have more than enough distraction without adding anything further, thank you.” He looked over my way with amusement.

I shook my head with a bit of a smile, sighed at the two of them, and circled my hand to motion for Jolee to go on with his story.

“Oh, yes, you did want to hear about De’layn. She is talented in the Force, and was just about made a Padawan. During training, Iridian plague hit her home planet, and she ended up losing everyone in her family except her two youngest sisters and a younger brother. She decided to leave the Order and take care of them. One of her Force skills is finding information that eludes everyone else. It’s made her a ton of money, and she probably has a better life now than she would have had as a Jedi, to be honest. She invited me over to talk about her little brother, who isn’t so little anymore. In fact, he’s a grown Twi’lek now, with a family and all. I’m his godfather.”

“Godfather? You were going to go to her place for a nightcap to discuss family ties?” I asked.

“Let me guess. You thought that just because I gave a beautiful Twi’lek with an incredibly sexy voice a wink and a smile that I’m running over to her place to jump in bed with her after dining with you? You two have your minds so far down in the sewer that the rakghouls would have to dig them out of the Taris undercity. Sheesh. Not that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, you know, but we’ve been good friends too long. She’s going to fill me in on the latest family gossip.”

“Then I guess--” I ducked just in time—the blaster bolt was so close to the top of my head that I could feel the air move. Our three lightsabers ignited simultaneously as we spun around to face our attackers. There was a squad of mercenaries running towards us.

“Oh, Force, De’layn! She may be in trouble!” I yelled over all the noise of blaster bolts hitting or ricocheting off the metal plates, deflecting three shots in rapid succession before I cut down the shooter.

“She’s a Force user. She’ll be fine. Concentrate!” Jolee urged as I ducked another blaster bolt that came much too close for comfort. I could feel the heat and smell a sweet-smoke odor as a tiny bit of my hair singed.

Jolee had to raise his voice to be heard above the screams of several people who were running frantically or diving out of the way of the battle.

Talin strode with single-minded focus into the fray, deflecting bolts and slashing through our attackers, seeming to make nothing more than tiny flicks of the wrist to make his lightsaber flurry through the air. His saber almost seemed to take on a life of its own as it moved in his hands.

Jolee’s skill nearly matched Talin’s, and he took out almost as many of the mercs as Talin did. I was happy to stop a couple of them and not get hit myself, though I did notice it was getting easier to anticipate attacks and make the proper moves.

The three of us cleared out the squad of mercenaries in a very short time and without injury. I ran over to the civilians who were lying on the ground to make sure they were uninjured. One man had received a glancing hit from a blaster bolt and had a burn on his arm. He was surprised as it disappeared in moments as I healed the injury, and then he breathed his relief from the pain.

“Thanks,” he said, his fear still palpable. “I’ve never even seen a Jedi before. Well, except on the holovid movies, you know. I didn’t know you stopped to help like that. I mean, people like me and all.” His face reddened.

“What’s your name?” I asked, giving him a gentle smile as I radiated calm, checking him over for any other injuries.

“Jaxin, ma’am,”

“Jaxin, I was a servant at a royal court before I joined the Order, and most of us come from very humble beginnings. I’m honored that you allowed me to help you. Now if that arm bothers you, make sure to go to the infirmary right away.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am,” he said, getting up and backing away a few steps before turning to walk away, nearly floating over the floor, face beaming his pleasure.

“That was well said,” Talin said with frank approval.

“I guess some of your diplomacy lessons are finally starting to stick.” I looked back at him with a discreet smile.

We walked back over to Jolee who was trying to raise De’layn on his comlink, to no avail.

“Carth?” I called on mine. “We’re going to be a little late for dinner….”

* * * *

“You’ve acquired some powerful enemies,” De’layn commented when we found her coming out of the small spot she had hunkered down in to protect herself from the firefight. At her feet were two dead fighters, with the clean fine lines of burns characteristic of a lightsaber attack.

“Are you all right, dear?” Jolee asked, the worry wrinkling his forehead and filling his eyes, followed by relief when he saw she was uninjured.

“Of course, Jolee. Just because I left the Order doesn’t mean I’ve stopped practicing certain skills.” She smiled and held up her lightsaber. “They never asked for it back, you know.”

Jolee grinned, “You always were resourceful.”

“Now this is very interesting,” she said, picking up one of the dead fighter’s blasters. “It’s Republic issue. I wonder why one of Norelden's men is carrying this?”

* * *

I was new enough in the Order that I was still surprised at the power of the two little words, “Jedi business.” That term virtually eliminated the need to deal with any bureaucracy. The presence of Captain Carth Onasi, decorated hero of the Republic, helped that much more.

“You look like you made it through this scrape just fine,” Carth said, peering over at me to make sure I was all right.

“Not a scratch.”

“A little singed hair, though,” Talin said with no small amount of disapproval, the frown tightening his lips. He held up the lock so that I could see the small area that had been blackened from the heat. “That should not have happened. We’ll have to work more on blaster bolt deflection techniques.”

The subtle and brief touch of his hand on my shoulder was his expression of worry for me and took some of the sting out of his critical tone.

“We found this on one of the mercs, Carth,” Jolee said, handing over the blaster to Carth before he could comment.

“Interesting. It’s definitely Republic issue, and it’s new. This merc looks too old to have just gotten out of basic training with a new blaster, only to join the Exchange. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but this may come from the batch that was stolen not too long ago. The Republic was sending us a small shipment of replacement arms to us, and the ship was pirated. We thought it was Norelden, but had no real proof until now.”

“This may help both our investigations, then,” I suggested.

“Undoubtedly it will. We’ll have Commander Raxton join us along with Commander Aichon. Raxton is my deparment head of intelligence. We’ll let the authorities take care of the rest of the work here and talk over dinner in a more discreet setting.”

We headed back to the Osprey.

Both commanders met us for dinner, with Carth making the introductions. After a simple but hearty meal, we attended to business.

“We understand things got a little exciting today,” Aichon said. He was dark-headed with green eyes, and was taller than Carth by several inches, almost too tall for the ship. He had to duck slightly as he went through doors. He exuded a quiet competence as he worked with Carth.

Jolee replied, “Well, if you count a squad of mercs exciting, then yes, I guess it did. I prefer my excitement to come in other ways.” He gave a little lopsided grin that made the officers laugh.

Talin maintained the neutral pleasant look that he did so well as he explained, “Jolee had a meeting with a colleague at the cantina. She left before us, or she would have been caught in the middle of the firefight rather than the periphery. As it was, they attacked us very shortly after we left. It was fortunate that it was still early in the evening and there was not as much traffic in the corridors as there would later in the evening. There would have been many more casualties otherwise.”

“We don’t know if we were followed, or if someone saw us in the cantina and reported in to Norelden’s people,” I added.

Raxton spoke in a smooth manner, “We received information of a possible hit today, and I informed Commander Aichon. Regretfully, my sources couldn’t get enough solid information in time to put out any warnings.” He had a face and quiet voice that would not be very memorable and few mannerisms that would make people immediately recognize him. His brown eyes refused to reveal what was behind them. His light brown hair and not-quite handsome features spoke ‘nondescript Human.’ He was perfect for intelligence work.

Carth handed him the blaster we had found earlier. “Is this part of the shipment we were supposed to receive?”

Raxton examined it carefully. “Yes. The serial number matches up with the inventory list we received. You said one of the mercenaries had this on him?”

“Yes. My colleague recognized him as one of Norelden’s people,” Jolee answered.

Aichon took the blaster when Raxton offered it to him and looked it over critically. “This is just further evidence of Norelden’s activity. Why is he after you three, though?”

“He’s been after us ever since we stopped an assassination attempt, but especially after we took out his apprentice Dycen’a. We’re still waiting to get useful leads from him—his injuries were too severe for the other masters to extract information right away,” Jolee said.

“I heard that Dycen’a had met his demise,” Aichon said.

Jolee answered, “That’s the party line we’re passing on the street. We want to avoid any more assassination attempts on Coruscant. It’s much easier if he’s ‘dead,’ you know.” Jolee made sure to make eye contact with everyone in the room. “I know I don’t need to say to this fine group that outside this room, he needs to stay dead.”

Talin stayed silent for a beat, and then added, “We have Dycen’a’s ship registry that he was using when traveling to Telos and Coruscant, which we gave to Captain Onasi.”

“We know it’s not the Scythe, since that ship was destroyed. We were trying to learn if it was one of Vogga’s ships or the Fujita,” Carth said.

“Vogga’s ships haven’t been docking here in recent months,” Raxton replied, sitting back comfortably in his chair, hands laced on the knee of a crossed leg. “He and Norelden had a falling out, and after Vogga lost a few ships he decided it would be wise to back out of operations here until the two of them could work things out.” Raxton leaned forward and tapped the datapad sitting on the table. “It can only be the Fujita.”

Carth said, standing up, “Let’s find out who he was meeting. Find me every ship that docked at Telos station near or at the same time as the Fujita. Meet me here for a report tomorrow at the same time.”

The two officers responded simultaneously, “Aye, sir.” They left the room.

As we prepared to depart for our ship, Carth stopped us. “Jae, I don’t like scares, especially with family. Stay out of trouble.”

“Aye, sir,” I smiled and gave him a sassy wink before placing a familial kiss on his cheek.

Carth shook his head and looked at Talin. “Did I mention the Onasi women have a force of will that can be challenging to contend with?”

“I’m beginning to discover that, sir.”

* * *

Jolee prepared to leave for his meeting with De’layn. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Come to think of it, you probably shouldn’t do anything I would do,” he admonished. “Ah, well, then, just have fun. Don’t wait up for me.”

“Watch yourself out there,” I told him as he opened the hatch to leave. He melted into the darkness with only a little chuckle to mark where he was.

Talin closed the hatch after him, locking it. Walking over to where I stood, he wrapped his arms around me. He rested his cheek gently on my head as I nestled against his shoulder.

“So what else is Captain Onasi going to tell me about the Onasi women?” he asked quietly.

I opened my mind to his, and the waves of emotion washed over both of us, warm and inviting. I reached up to gently pull his head down to mine and let the meeting of our lips be my answer.

Diego Varen
05-23-2006, 03:28 AM
Another of Jolee's stories. Good Chapter.

JediMaster12
05-23-2006, 03:53 AM
Love Jolee's story and his usual grumpy manner :D
The last kissy thing sounds a bit like Titanic: the reaching up and pulling the head gently for a kiss. Or was this another real life thing Jae :D
Just being the devilish git I am but really this is a good chapter and you always have use jumping with these surprise attacks. Now the time is to wait for the next chapter.

Ztalker
05-23-2006, 07:36 AM
Woa!

You tell the story in a very cool way! I never expected that a story told in an I-perepsetctive (does that word excist in English? :p ) would work out so well...

Keep it up :)

Jae Onasi
05-23-2006, 08:51 AM
Thanks, folks.
@JM12--would you believe I've never seen Titanic? Since I already know the end, I couldn't bear to watch. Too depressing, even with the love story. Humorous note--my husband went to the show (I was away at a conference or we would have gone together). Behind him were two high school girls. One of them said, "I heard the ship sinks" The other said "No way! Oh, I hope that doesn't happen! I'll be so bummed!"
And yes, our little party is being hunted. It's good lightsaber practice for them all. :D

@Ztalker--just because I'm an education junkie...your trivia for the day: "I-perspective" is called 'first person' in English. The other perspective is called 'third person'. Does it get literally translated as 'I-perspective' from your language? I'm always interested in how different concepts translate.
If I'd been smart, I would have done it in third person because it gives so much more freedom to look at things from all the characters' perspectives. The single hardest thing I had to remember, especially in the beginning, was that I could only see the world through one set of eyes. I caught myself dropping into third person quite a bit in the early chapters until I could start to figure out how to alter events for the main character to 'see' them. That's part of the learning process. :)

Edit: gotta tell you all, romance scenes are _really_ hard to write in first person. I don't know if it's because of the feeling of sharing a private moment publicly or because the view of the emotions is so one-sided, but it feels weird to write it that way. :)

Renegade Puma
05-23-2006, 09:00 AM
Great two chapters Jae. I am so enjoying this love story :) Oh did I mention I am enjoying the mystery and the action flick as well? How do you find the time to write so much? Seriously! Oh well, keep up the great work. As usual you have Jolee pegged through and though.

Jae Onasi
05-23-2006, 03:04 PM
Great two chapters Jae. I am so enjoying this love story :) Oh did I mention I am enjoying the mystery and the action flick as well? How do you find the time to write so much? Seriously! Oh well, keep up the great work. As usual you have Jolee pegged through and though.

I have no life. :D Actually, I don't watch a lot of TV (or if I do, it's with the laptop in my lap, except for CSI and Criminal Minds). More than a few nights I've stayed up way too late trying to finish that one last paragraph. I type faster than I can write, and I had an 8th grade English teacher who made sure, by God, that I knew how to spell correctly and use proper grammar, because that was her sole mission in life. So that makes things go quickly, too.
Thanks!

Rain128
05-23-2006, 04:50 PM
Great read Jae, lovin it, you potray Jolee very well, i was reading it on kotorfanmedia because no offence to everyone here there is a lot less clutter with posts like this one ;) guess i have to catch up on the story arc here :)

Jae Onasi
05-23-2006, 06:42 PM
No offense taken--both places meet different needs/wants. I'm behind at kfm--lurked there awhile before I started posting. I'm trying to get caught up there, and I agree, it does have a 'cleaner read'. Not that I dislike the comments here, mind you. :)

Hallucination
05-23-2006, 09:28 PM
@Ztalker--just because I'm an education junkie...your trivia for the day: "I-perspective" is called 'first person' in English. The other perspective is called 'third person'.
Aha! It appears that you didn't know that second person perspective exists. It dictates what the reader is doing, and (as you could guess) isn't used very often in novels. I remember a few R.L. Stein books that used it, but I can't recall any other authers using it.;)

I always wanted to correct someone with a considerably higher education than I. :)

Again, another brilliant chapter, can't wait to see where this is going. :)

Jae Onasi
05-24-2006, 08:43 AM
Silly Hallucination, I did know 2nd person exists. I just didn't want to confuse him, because it's used so very little, almost never. In fact, I didn't even know about the books you mentioned. So, you get partial credit for the correction. :D

JediMaster12
05-24-2006, 04:02 PM
Stop! No Grammar Police ALLOWED! This is a fic that is supposed to be entertaining. All grammar police must leave and let the readers enjoy this fic in peace. :lol:

Jae Onasi
05-25-2006, 12:14 AM
I have to finish a project for a friend this weekend and am flying to TX for an event, so I probably won't have a chapter for you til Sun/Mon earliest, unless the muse strikes while I'm on the plane and I get some internet access somewhere. Gotta love laptops. :)

Darth Jester
05-25-2006, 11:18 PM
Yay for lappys XD (sorry im in a random mood today) anyway this would make a great comic (if only it was allowed) :)

Jae Onasi
05-26-2006, 02:33 AM
Yay for lappys XD (sorry im in a random mood today) anyway this would make a great comic (if only it was allowed) :)


I am seriously artistically impaired. :) I appreciate great art very much, but I cannot do it myself. My penmenship is better in Arabic than it is in English (which is commentary both on how well my prof taught Arabic penmenship and how truly awful my handwriting is). I have trouble drawing stick people and I never have been able to color in the lines. If there is such a thing as art dyslexia, I have it--I can see it in my head but can't make my hands create the picture. The only artsy thing I can do is scrapbook, but that's because there are lots of magazines with layouts that I can copy/adapt and I have fun/cool tools that make it a lot easier to do. Nor am I particularly bothered by not being able to do art--everyone has strengths and weaknesses and my skills lay in other areas.

So, it would never make it to comic book status unless there's an artistic miracle in my life. :D

Darth Jester
05-26-2006, 07:47 AM
Well we can only dream cant we :) anyway keep the great work coming Jae

Jae Onasi
05-31-2006, 01:53 AM
Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks. Traveling went very well, the event last weekend was fabulous, and I've finished almost all my current projects. Dad is out of the hospital and doing well, if tired. My cat is recovering nicely.
So, I had a bit of time to plug away on the latest chapter, and here it is.

_______________________________________________


Chapter 25: The Story of the Firaxan


“We’re meeting with De’layn again,” Jolee announced the next morning.

“I certainly hope it’s at a different cantina. I’m not looking forward to another episode like yesterday,” I drawled.

“Yeah, blaster fire does tend to have a bad effect on your hairdo. Thank goodness I don’t have much to lose.” Jolee rubbed the top of his bald head and grinned.

“What has she learned?” Talin asked.

“She has a contact in Norelden’s organization, and he’s going to meet us to discuss some of the recent happenings. He thinks there’s something bad going on, and he’s thinking of getting out.”

“If he’s seen with us, he’ll be out his life instead,” Talin warned.

“I’m betting a certain captain could help us out.” Jolee looked over at me with a smile. “I have a plan.

“I think I’m learning to be scared of your plans, Jolee,” I said.

“Your faith in me is underwhelming.”

I grinned back at him. “Count me in.”

* * * *

“Sure, I would love to help out,” Carth said. “What do you have in mind?”

Jolee delineated his plan. “Well, I was thinking that you have a little problem with a sailor named Rineldo who has gone AWOL a long time ago, maybe when you were still a normal person and not a captain of a big ship.”

“I shudder to think what your opinion will be of me once I make admiral.”

Jolee grinned at Carth’s quip and went on, “One of your men sees him in the cantina, calls you, you come and make a big production of how long it’s been, Admiral Dodonna will be glad to see him in the brig, you might consider airlocking him, blah, blah, blah.”

“Do I look like the kind of guy who would airlock someone?”

“Well, come to think of it, no. You’re too damn nice. Make something up, then.”

“We’ll need to know how long he’s been with the Exchange and on Telos. If we’re going to do a little play-acting, we have to make it good.”

A little later the cantina, the three of us met up with De’layn, who had found a table before us.

“Jolee, dear, do come sit next to me,” she said in her sultry voice.

“I’m delighted as always. Carth has the information,” Jolee said, sitting down next to De’layn.

Talin and I sat down oppposite them and looked around the cantina. A small Bith band played some quieter music as background, suitable for a room that was not filled with people. We discreetly noticed a couple of off-duty sailors, one of whom was twice the age of the other. They walked in and found another table in a corner where they had a good view of the room. They ordered a round and appeared to be chatting like any other off-duty service members. It took me a few moments before I realized I recognized one of them.

“Carth must think this is really important, because he put Raxton on the team,” I observed. “His disguise is pretty good.”

Talin said, “Not surprising, considering how badly they have been trying to break the Exchange open on Telos and eliminate any threat of Sith involvement.”

Jolee continued, “De’layn, you get to go do a little flirting with your contact. We’re just going to sit and talk a bit here first before you pretend like you have to find the refresher. Jae, you’ll stop and chat with those sailors a bit, and after you leave the table, they’ll get up and ‘discover’ he’s an AWOL sailor. Now, I have to get something to drink—all this talking makes my mouth dry.”

“Where are my manners? Would you like me to order the same for everyone?” De’layn pointed to her drink. Talin and I nodded yes.

Jolee answered, “No, just juma for me. I never drink anything blue and fizzy before dinner.”

“Always the jokester.” She turned her eyes to us and smiled. “You should have seen him when he was a Padawan.”

“Please, do tell us.” I said, leaning forward to capture every last detail.

“You’re not going to tell them that story, are you?”

“Why of course I am, my dear.”

“I’m never going to live this one down.”

She began, “Jolee, Mik’oth, and I had a night off one time, and we decided to go see a new holovid that came out. We went out to dinner, had a few drinks, and before you know it, those two were quite sauced.”

“De’layn had to help the two of us walk, as I recall. The three of us meandering down the sidewalk must have been quite the sight.”

“We finally made it to the theater, and sat down. Actually, Jolee collapsed down.”

“I must have had a defective chair.”

“Uh-huh. Just what did you do to the chair, Jolee?” I asked.

“Well, let’s just say I sat down a little too hard, and the seat dropped out under me, but the sides stayed put. I ended up sitting with my arms just about over my head resting on the arm rests, though I could sort of swing my hands around a bit.” Jolee demonstrated his position in the chair. “I couldn’t figure how to get out of there, and I thought I was comfortable, so I decided to stay that way, kind of folded up.”

De’layn continued, “He was happy there, we were happy that he couldn’t get up at all to go wander anywhere, life was good. We were watching some kind of horror holovid. What was it about again, Jolee?”

“It was a show about a killer firaxan. It’s a pretty good holovid, actually, but I think we ruined it for some people by laughing all the time. I’m surprised we didn’t get kicked out.”

“Some time in the middle of the holovid, the firaxan came up to attack one of the minor characters. Jolee got Mik’oth good there.”

“So what did you do?” Talin asked Jolee, a mild smile on his face.

“Picture a giant firaxan who has eaten several of the extras already. Here he comes again, mouth wide open and full of huge razor-sharp teeth, taking up the screen. He was about to chomp down on another poor soon-to-be-dead minor character. I got a wild idea. Just as the firaxan’s teeth bit the guy, I grabbed Mik’oth’s leg.”

“Oh, no, you didn’t!” I said.

“Oh, yes, I did. It was hilarious. He screamed ‘I’m being eaten! I’m being eaten! I'm being eaten!’ and then he nearly wet himself. Ever hear a Twi’lek scream like a gizka that’s just been stepped on?”

“No, and I hope I never do,” Talin said.

“There was just a little problem with that, though,” De’layn explained. “Some Twi’leks emit certain pheromones when they experience extreme emotions. Mik’oth must have created a huge cloud of them. That generally would not have been a problem because there were only a couple Twi’leks in the theater, and they were the only ones who could have a reaction to the scent. If they had been far enough away, they might not have even been affected.”

“However, sitting right in front of us were a couple of Twi’leks, one of whom was about as pregnant as you can get and still not have the baby in your arms.”

“I think, Jolee, that she was actually a week overdue at that point. The pheromones made her go into labor, and it was her fourth child so we knew things would happen fast,” said De’layn.

Jolee went on, “We were about to call for an ambulance when the male Twi’lek, her husband, informed us in no uncertain terms that we were not going to call the authorities and that he was going to take her to her doctor for care. I told him that baby was about ready to come out and insisted that she needed help now. Well, he was immune to our persuade attempts and insisted with his blaster that we were not going to call anyone, and that now we were going to come with him while he got his wife to safety.”

“And you went with him?” I asked, surprised.

“We could have gotten out of the situation easily enough, but we knew that the baby was coming at any minute, and her dear husband didn’t have a clue about what to do. We could not abandon her to whatever he had in mind,” De’layn said.

“We got in the back of his transport with her and used the Force to sober up and help her with her pain. It was a very nice transport, I might add, with plush seating and gold plating on anything metal, wet bar, linens, about as richly appointed as it gets. Husband drove like a maniac to their home, calling the doctor and everyone else he could think of while weaving around and dodging traffic. The baby decided he couldn’t wait any longer, and out he came, right into De’layn’s hands.”

“He was a handsome little thing—had the cutest lekku, too. The only problem was that he didn’t want to start breathing, and then the mother started hemorrhaging,” De’layn smiled at the memory of the baby, and then frowned at the images of a severely bleeding mother.

“Here we were, still in the back of the transport while all this is going on, and the idiot husband refuses to listen to us telling him to stop at a hospital. Mik’oth held the mother’s hand, I worked on the baby, and De’layn focused her Force powers on stopping the bleeding. When we got to their mansion, the doctor met us with his bag, took one look at all the blood and me using the Force to breath for the baby, jumped in, and ordered the husband to get over to his hospital immediately. He told me to keep doing what I was doing while he worked on saving the mother’s life. You have no idea how relieved I was when the baby finally started crying a few moments later.”

“We all smiled at that one, including the husband. We got to their hospital, mother and baby were rushed inside and all turned out well after a few hours,” De’layn said.

“What could possibly be more important than stopping at the nearest hospital?” Talin asked.

“He was one of the senior leaders of a crime syndicate on Coruscant with ties stretching all over the galaxy, and he knew the authorities were looking for both his family and him. He didn’t want his wife to give birth in a holding cell,” De’layn replied. “‘His’ hospital was private and the staff there knew how to keep quiet.”

Jolee continued, “The doctor explained to him how we had saved both his wife’s and his son’s lives. This crime boss was so grateful that he just about offered us the entire planet in thanks and asked us what we wanted.”

“So what did you ask for?” I inquired.

“Mik’oth and I looked at each other and said, ‘Help with stopping the Ukatis blockade.’ ‘That’s it?’ he asked. We nodded yes. He said, ‘Done.’ About three days later, a packet arrived for us at the Jedi temple. It was full of juicy and very detailed gossip about the Ukatis king, his ties with a rival crime ring, and what he was doing to his people. The Senate was forced to act after that. They sent in the cavalry and broke the blockade. Then they captured the king and brought him up on charges of crimes against sentients. The crime boss also gave all three of us more cash than we knew what to do with. When we tried to refuse, he told us that refusing his gifts would offend him, and offending him had rather nasty consequences. So, we decided to invest it and use it for our favorite charities and pet projects.”

“You single-handedly broke a system blockade because you played a practical joke on Mik’oth?” Talin could not contain a chuckle.

“Well, when you put it that way, that’s pretty much how it went,” Jolee replied.

“I can’t believe it,” Talin said.

“I can’t believe I’m going to have to write this up for my history project. How in the world am I going to write‘Jolee got plastered, scared the bejeezers out of Mik’oth who passed enough pheromones to send a woman into labor, which eventually led to the Ukatis king being deposed’ in a way that is inspirational to future Jedi?” I shook my head in amazement.

“I am sure you will do just fine,” Talin said, putting warmth and reassurance into his voice and gave my hand a tiny squeeze. I smiled back.

Jolee looked at De’layn and said, “Aw, aren’t they cute?”

De’layn gave Jolee a small indulgent smile. Her eyes shifted abruptly to the door. “Riki is here.”

“OK, people, here we go,” Jolee said, eyes bright with excitement.

Riki ordered his drink and sat down at one of the more secluded tables. De’layn got up, smoothed down her close-fitting dress, brushed her lekku back, and put on her seductress act. She walked slowly, hips swaying, ordered a drink at the bar, and then pretended she had just noticed Riki. She glided his way, smiled brightly and said a few words. He looked her up and down with appreciation and a certain longing look, and then he motioned for her to join him. She batted her eyelashes at him as she settled slowly into the booth, and he waved to the server for another round of drinks before turning his attention back to De’layn, gazing at her in rapt attention.

About ten minutes later, Jolee motioned to me. I stood up from our table and walked over to the Republic sailors.

“Good evening, gentlemen. Always good to have a Republic presence in a cantina. It makes me feel safer,” I gave them an admiring but vapid smile.

“Thank you, ma’am. I was wondering if you had tried the same drinks as they have,” Raxton asked, turning only his eyes to indicate Riki and De’layn and asking in this coded phrase ‘are they the ones?’

“Yes, I especially recommend his drink,” I replied with the code that told them that it was indeed Riki.

“It’s very kind of you to stop by to talk to us, ma’am. We’ll have to give your recommendation a try.”

“Keep up the good work, sailors,” I said, moving on to the refresher lounge.

Not too many minutes later, De’layn came through the lounge door. She went to the mirror to check her outfit, and I joined her.

“I have good news,” De’layn said, her face animated in her excitement. “Riki has good evidence that points to just who the Sith Lord may be in Norelden’s organization.”

“It can’t be Norelden himself, since you said he has no Force ability.”

“Riki is pretty sure that it is Antin Thorn, his second-in-command.”

“Now we just have to make sure it’s him and figure out a way to draw him out,” I said.

We heard the commotion of some shouts and a table falling over outside the lounge door.

“It sounds like the Republic’s men have found their AWOL sailor,” De’layn noted dryly.

“I hope that they don’t play too rough with Riki.”

I opened the door to the lounge, only to be assaulted by the cacophony of flying blaster bolts and more falling tables.

“We’d better go help,” I said, and both of us pulled out our lightsabers.

Diego Varen
05-31-2006, 04:56 AM
Good Chapter. Nice to see you back.

Renegade Puma
05-31-2006, 05:59 AM
Good chapter Jae. I loved the story about Jolee getting plastered and ending a blockade with just a practical joke. :) Good stuff. Can't wait for the next chapter.

Jae Onasi
05-31-2006, 08:54 AM
I do have to say that they all did get sober before delivering a baby.... :)