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Old 07-10-2009, 05:30 PM   #1
@Black Knight of Keno
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From Error to Destiny

Captain’s personal log.
I don’t even know why I keep writing this log. I’m a smuggler. I should know better than keep records of my trips. I guess it comes natural after the stint with the Republic Navy. Who knows what they brainwash you to do back in the academy.
In any case… I, once again, am Captain Arkai Sotha formerly of the Republic Navy and now a smuggler-for-hire. I’m currently preparing takeoff from Nar Shaddaa with a cargo to the folks back on Dantooine. Seems Imperials have put up a blockade on the planet after their agents tracked someone high up on their wanted list there.
It’s been almost a year since Palpatine usurped control and declared the New Order as they call it. It’s been almost four years since I was refused a navy career on the Imperial Navy, despite my decorations from the old Clone Wars days. Really I’m quite thankful of that. They forced me to start doing something and after getting a bargain retrofitted Consular-class Republic frigate, the “Kath Hound”, what else was I going to do but ship cargo? So here I am. Another smuggle run to another Empire-forsaken place. I hope I can get some cash from this trip.

The Miralan man leaned back, closing the holoscreen in front of him and letting out a deep sigh. His quarters was very Spartan and small. Everything in the ship was pretty much stripped and all the guns were automated and hardwired directly to the brains of an older model gunner droid with a replaced targeting system and some new software in order to enhance the turrets’ capabilities of targeting as many targets as possible with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. It was funny how five years ago the Mirialan captain had been fighting droid-controlled ships and now had one for himself, even if it was a mismatch of cannibalized parts put together for a somewhat working vessel.
Arkai’s thoughts were interrupted by the ship’s computer, which opened up the intercom and hailed the captain.

“Arkai, the loading is finished and the droids are securely aboard. Loading ramp is closing now” the computer told the smuggler right when the grinding of metal echoed through the hull, indicating a closing loading ramp. It reminded Captain Sotha to fix that ramp because it never closed properly.

“Are we ready for takeoff?” Arkai asked and stood up. He walked the short trip to the next room, finding himself in the cockpit. He sat himself down on the pilot’s seat just when an astromech scurried into the cockpit and took its place connected to the navicomputer.

“According to the checklist, we are ready for takeoff, Arkai. Hatches are secure, fueling is finished, the engine is ready and we have a heading. All we need is a permission from air control” the ship answered Arkai’s question.

The computer’s words prompted the pilot to get in contact with the air control of that relatively small district of Nar Shaddaa. The grunt of a Gran answered the call and started checking the ship’s clearances immediately after picking up. Being a long-time associate of one Hutt or the other always speeded up matters on these less than marvelous planets of commerce.

“Nar Shaddaa air control. Am I clear for takeoff?”Arkai asked and the Gran grunted once more.

Kath Hound, is it? Captain Arkai Sotha. Yes, your clearances are perfectly fine. I will take control of the flight systems and guide you out. You are currently the second in line to depart from this sector of the moon.” the Gran answered courteously, although it was always a stretch for a Gran to sound like that with their voices and the language.

“Who’s departing before me?” Arkai questioned, not really for any other reason but his own amusement.

A ship called Freedom. That is one hell of a design for a ship, by the way. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s captained by someone going by the name of ‘Prasanna’.” the air controller said and followed from his screen as the Freedom departed before starting the liftoff procedure for the Kath Hound.

“Prasanna, eh? Hmm…” Arkai said, chuckling to himself. He had a previous run-in with a certain Slade Prasanna, but it was doubtful it would be him. Nonetheless, he put the name of the ship in the back of his mind. It might yet prove useful at some point.

Alright, Captain Sotha. You are clear to depart. Have a nice flight out there and visit us again.” the Gran air controller said over the comlink to the Kath Hound as it reached upper atmosphere and the automatic controls of the air control were released.

--- --- ---

Captain’s personal log.
Well, another uneventful start for a flight. I left Nar Shaddaa two hours ago. I managed to get a glimpse of the Freedom, captained by someone named Prasanna. I’ll have to get the computer to remind me to check up on the ship’s captain and crew once I’m back on a civilized world.
The navicomputer gave me some trouble before the jump to hyperspace. Some sort of glitch with the calculation matrix but the astromech took care of it. We should be back on course with the cargo with an ETA of seven more hours. I’ll write more once …

The Mirialan Pilot didn’t get the chance to finish writing up the log. A loud boom echoed through the hull, followed by several more and the ship shook violently around like it was trapped in a child’s rattle toy. The captain rushed off to the cockpit and could barely make it to his seat from all the shaking. The computer was going haywire. Arkai pulled back on a lever and the ship came out of hyperspace into a whole cloud of debris. Spacedust, small rocks, pieces of metal and hull fragments. It was a navigator’s worst nightmare and a mere pilot had gotten right in the middle of it.

“Navigations computer is showing several errors, Arkai. It will have to be completely recalibrated before another jump can be attempted. The glitch we encountered near Nar Shaddaa was worse than we thought” the computer reported, having the same calm and collected voice that it had before. It used to annoy the Mirialan to the brink of utter madness, but it had started to grow on him after a couple of years.

“Well, recalibrate it. Can you detect any safe havens around here?” Arkai asked, taking manual control of the frigate and switching the automated turrets to fire on all larger objects.
“Sensors are picking up a planet not far from here. According to my records, there are 230 known planets which match the description of the planet, but it is the best choice,” the computer told the pilot who headed for the coordinates which popped up on his screen.

“So, the good news is that we have a safe place to recalibrate and mend the navicomputer and the ship. And the bad news is that we have absolutely no idea where we are landing to do that” Arkai said and had a sense that if the computer could nod, this was a moment when it would do so.

--- --- ---

Captain’s personal log.
Well, I have no idea what’s happened with the navicomputer and I have no idea where I am. I had a bad feeling about this run when I accepted it, but holy nine hells of Corellia I didn’t think it would turn out to be this bad. I need to find out anything that could help me figure out where I am and I think I’ve found a small glint of hope. I’ve moved the ship from my initial landing site to some sort of ruin. It’s some sort of old settlement, mostly ruined and pretty old. It must be hundreds of years, if not thousands. The sensors indicate some sort of large space inside and I’m hoping it’s a library or archive which could give me some hint on where I am. Anyways. I’m off to search this structure.

Arkai closed the holoscreen and picked up his blaster from the table next to the screen. With a sigh of desperation, he holstered the blaster and left for the door. Before he went through the door and left the ship, he opened a locker next to his quarters’ door and took out a slugthrower rifle. On the long run, it was safer to have a slugthrower with you on a strange planet. Who knows what kinds of animals there were out there and some might be resistant to the blaster shots.

“I strongly advice against leaving the ship, Arkai. If we spend time deducing from the navicomputer’s archive what went wrong, we can find out how to correct and counter the calculation error” the computer said right before the Mirialan was opening up the hatch leading out to the lush world.

“Then you do that. My comlink will be open so you can get in touch once you’re done with the computer stuff. I’m counting on you to correct the error and find a solution to this matter” Arkai said before leaving the ship.

It was a very short walk across an old and disarrayed courtyard to reach the ruins. Two old huge doors stood guard to the crumbling structure, but still manage to find the power to open up halfway through once the Mirialan pilot pressed a button for them to open. There was enough space for the slim and flexible Mirialan to get through, but a human might have had trouble fitting through the gap.
The lights were off, of course, and natural light shone through from the crumbling stone ceiling and walls. The smuggler took a glowrod into hand from his tool belt and switched it on to produce a beam of light about ten meters ahead of him. He searched the first room with quick glances before proceeding further inside. It would take a while of wandering around to get to the large archive room he was hoping to find.

There was a nagging doubt in the back of his head that there was something watching him all the time he was in the structure. Every time that Arkai turned to see what was following him, he saw nothing. There was nothing following him. But the feeling remained and only intensified once he finally entered the archive room of the structure. There was a central holoprojector in the middle of the he room, surrounded by rows of mostly empty shelves, where once had been data, books and holocrons. As the Mirialan stepped in front of the holoprojector, a voice startled him from behind, causing his hands to point the rifle at the voice. Slowly something materialized to the man. It was a figure; a shadow of its former self.

Have you come here to seek knowledge, youngling?” the figure asked and Arkai lowered his weapon.

“No. I’m … I’m not a youngling. I had trouble with my navicomputer and this was the nearest safe place to land. I’m trying to find out where I am” the former Republic captain explained.

You are not a youngling? Then you must be a natural talent? Have you not been discovered by the Jedi yet?” the figure continued to ask.

“They have, but I chose Republic Navy over Jedi training. Besides, I was too old to begin full training. Who are you?” the captain asked and took a step towards the figure. He saw the figure lacked details, like something had corroded the image of the Jedi over the years.

I am … Emukiel Al-Saefar, Jedi Master from the Hundred Year Darkness. Once the Grand Master of the Order, now a mere shadow on the walls of the Tython Jedi Temple” the figure said and took a bow. Arkai followed in suit out of respect.

“Tython? I’m on Tython? Oh, man… All hyperspace routes became unstable hundreds of years ago. Who knows what I might get my ship crashed into if I choose a route that isn’t at least somewhat safe” the pilot said and sat down in despair. His fingers went through his hair and the figure of the Jedi Emukiel crouched next to the pilot.

You seek a safe passage. You will find safe passage. There is a smuggler run to and from this planet. They sometimes come here to regroup or exchange information and goods over the latest with the authorities. Tell me, I have felt a disturbance in the Galaxy. What has become of the Jedi?” the Jedi asked and Arkai looked up at Emukiel before a light laughter came from him. It was of both relief and the pain of loss over the Jedi.

“They are dead. Many are fugitives from the Galactic Empire, most were killed by Vader and the Stormtroopers. Jedi hunters are everywhere these days and nobody can be trusted” Arkai said and shook his head. A tear rolled down his cheek.

I see… It is a grave loss indeed. But even if few still live, there is hope. I will give you coordinates through the smugglers run. But promise me. Find Freedom. Help the Jedi. Help a Rebel when you stumble upon one” the figure said and rose back up and disappeared.

Arkai looked up as Emukiel vanished and nodded silently. The Mirialan slowly and quietly stood up, seeing a datapad had been placed along with a holocron on the holoprojector. They hadn’t been there before… Arkai was sure of it. It must’ve been Emukiel.
The captain took the two objects, checked the contents of the datapad and rushed off. He couldn’t wait to get off this planet. The meaning of Emukiel’s words would not hit him until he got back to the ship.

‘Find Freedom’

--- --- ---

Captain’s personal log.
I’ve corrected the errors with the navicomputer and have plotted a course through the smugglers run. I now have a new direction with my life. I need to find the Freedom. There is something I must yet do and I have been more than gently pushed towards this destiny. I put my faith in the Force and will see what comes out of it.
It will be good to see Slade Prasanna once more.

The holoscreen was once more closed and the captain walked to his seat in the cockpit. The astromeched beeped and whistled as it connected into the navicomputer and readied the new coordinates.

“Okay. Let’s get off this planet” Arkai said and took manual control. Smoke filled the bottom of the ship as it slowly rose up from the ground and lifted up further towards the clouds.

As the smoke lifted, two figured stood by the entrance of the Jedi Temple and seemed to smile. They turned to see each other and bowed.

He will yet become a part of the revolution” Emukiel said and the other figure nodded.

Indeed. There will be much that he can yet achieve. I see promise in this one” the other figure said and looked up at the sky, where the engines of the Consular-class frigate flashed bright before a jump to hyperspace.

Much like you did with Skywalker, hmm?” Emukiel said and laughed before heading for the Temple.

You are never going to let me forget that, are you? I did my best to warn him and guide his tutors. There will be time for you to regret your words, Emukiel. You will see that a Skywalker will reform our Order into something greater than we ever were” the figure called after Emukiel and dissipated into the wind.

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Old 07-16-2009, 08:45 AM   #2
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I liked this piece BlackKnight, I thought that the story was interesting and it seems like it could possibly even be expanded into a longer fic so we can find out what happens to Arkai and just who the other figure was talking to Emukiel. (though I have guesses)

I don't see any glaring technical errors either, and I liked the way you approached the theme.

"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

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Old 07-22-2009, 09:48 PM   #3
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:10 AM   #4
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“Arkai, the loading is finished and the droids are securely aboard. Loading ramp is closing now” the computer told the smuggler right when the grinding of metal echoed through the hull, indicating a closing loading ramp.
This sentence could be trimmed

There's some grammatical and punctuation errors, especially with the transitions out of dialogues. The sentence structure could be smoothed out and a bit more personality injected into the characters. All in all, a decent effort but would imrpove greatly with polish

The sun goes down and the sky reddens, pain grows sharp.
light dwindles. Then is evening
when jasmine flowers open, the deluded say.
But evening is the great brightening dawn
when crested cocks crow all through the tall city
and evening is the whole day
for those without their lovers

-Kuruntokai 234, translated by A.K. Ramanujan

[Fic] Shreds of a Dying Belief
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arkai sotha , fanfic , freedom , from error to destiny , slade prasanna

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