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Old 12-31-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
Darth_Yuthura
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Status: Banned
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vienna
Posts: 1,585
Current Game: KOTOR III
Destined to Live

Here's a new fiction that I want to try using 3rd person perspective. The main character, Genda, is a slave on Sleheyron shortly after the events of TSL. As the Jedi Order is reassembled, Genda may find there is more to himself than he realizes at the beginning.

To save the story, I won't give away why he's significant, but it will become clear within the first three chapters or so. The first one is to show how a gladiator who has survived five years would feel and how the one closest to him might react. This is a far-fetched first chapter, (notice the ROTJ parody) but I just wanted to do a more elaborate romantic scene and set the story up at the start.

--------

Chapter 1: The Moment

Genda was not always a slave, but from birth, he had been shackled by the unbreakable chains of his bloodline. Being only half-Mandalorian, even his father would not accept him. His mother, who couldn't even take care of herself, left him with a friend who intended to raise the boy until she learned to pick herself up.

For a decade, Genda had grown up in the loving company of an adopted father, but when war reached the skies of Telos, that life was gone. Being half Mandalorian, Genda was not accepted by either side. It was only a matter of time before he was taken by Faso, the Hutt and used for a gladiator.

Despite his age, Genda was every bit as strong as a full-blooded Mandalorian, but he had a talent for survival that even the most seasoned warriors lacked. From age twelve, he was thrown into an arena almost every week and survived against all odds for five years.

At sixteen, he had become one of the most recognized gladiators on Sleheyron, surviving over 200 separate engagements against other slaves, numerous exotic creatures, as well as many other dangers. He amazed, but often did not please crowds who gathered to watch such killing games. All he cared about was walking out of the arena when the battle was over. Faso favored him for the sake of having the most seasoned gladiator on Sleheyron, but beyond that, he was doomed to keep fighting until he couldn't fight anymore. There was no escape except death.

-----

Even after nearly 200 past victories, Genda was still filled with terror each time he passed through the gates of the arena in front of 100,000 spectators. That fear came from not knowing whether it was going to be his last battle or not. The deafening applause he received would have made any other slave jealous, but Genda grew to hate their cheers. To him, it meant either a more dangerous creature or that many more opponents were pitted against him.

Occasionally, he was accompanied by other slaves against an enemy force of slaves all thrown into the arena to kill one another. Genda found himself alone more and more often as his master, Faso didn't want the incompetence of others to endanger his champion. Since he had already taken the title of 'greatest gladiator on Sleheyron,' his life served only to push the records as far as possible. The greatest number of battles, the toughest creatures killed, the overwhelming odds he was up against... Faso just wanted to see how far Genda could go before he died.

When the gate at the opposite end of the arena opened, a massive creature weighing nearly 300 kilograms had been unleashed and came charging towards Genda. Although he had never faced-off with one before, he knew a bit about the kell dragon. Their massive jaws were wide enough to swallow a Jawa whole. Any kind of injury involving those teeth would have been fatal to a standard humanoid.

Genda was armed only with a vibrosword and a tower shield in addition to his Echani fiber armour. As the massive creature came charging towards him, he retreated, not out of fear, but to encourage the Kell Dragon to charge even faster. That particular predator pounced upon their prey before they could use their jaws, especially those that ran. And that was exactly what Genda wanted the beast to do.

While running backwards, he strapped the shield on his back and held the vibrosword backhanded while he watched the kell dragon coming at an remarkable charging speed. Upon making its jump, almost ten meters away, Genda stopped where he was, turned his back, and positioned the vibrosword against the ground and his shield so that it would impale the beast as it moved helplessly through the air.

Genda braced for the impact which he knew was going to push his body to its limits. Even if it succeeded, a creature weighing three times his own weight moving at nearly 25 km/hour could have resulted in severe injuries. He planted his legs to dampen the impact as much as possible without locking any joints in place, but the impact was much harder than he expected.

As the Kell Dragon impaled itself upon the sword, the blade stayed firmly in position as the beast’s own momentum opened a wound much wider than had it simply been stabbed. When it finally landed, the blade nearly split it in half from the rib cage back.

Genda was protected by the tower shield, but the sheer mass of the creature threw him forward. A huge burst of blood gushed over his neck and head as he expected, but the shield had also shifted because it was not properly strapped to his back. That actually saved his life because it protected his head from the creature as it landed upon him.

After the kell dragon slid off the shield, Genda pulled himself back, covered in blood, and found it wailing in agony in a pool of its own blood. For the audience, there came a moment of utter silence as they couldn’t tell what exactly had happened. They saw the creature run over Genda, but even when it was down, they saw him covered in blood. After he stood up and stepped away, very much alive, they roared in approval.

Genda wiped the blood off his face with the his sleeve before he grabbed the shield and headed for the arena exit. Although he could have left the weapons behind, he had once been sidelined after a match was ended. Since then, he carried them out with him.

The roar of the crowd turned to the chanting of his name. “Genda! Genda! Genda!”

The first few times he heard the chanting, he grinned in utter joy at having his name echo throughout the stadium, but as the years went by, his thoughts were more of relief than triumph. ‘Another week’ he thought. Another week before he was going to be thrown into danger again.

-----

After dropping his weapons, Genda stripped off his armour and stood under the stream of water in a shower stall. His owner’s proxy, Uva Mosk, didn’t give any regards to his privacy, but Genda was used to it. “Ten seconds! That’s all you were able to give them was ten seconds?!”

Genda closed his eyes as he put his head directly under the stream of hot water, trying to rinse away the blood. “If you want to complain, speak to the Kell Dragon. It was the one that impaled itself upon my sword.”

Uva Mosk turned off the water and got right in front of Genda. “All you ever do is kill, kill, kill. They don’t want a butcher, they want someone to entertain them. You don’t do that by killing everything that comes out of that gate. They want...”

Genda grabbed Mosk by the collar and pulled him right in his face. “I don’t give a damn what they want! I don’t fight to entertain! If Faso has a problem with it, he’s just going to have to get used to it.” He threw back the twi’lek and turned the shower back on.

Uva Mosk directed his attention somewhere other than at Genda, fearing that the young gladiator could and would kill when provoked. “Well I’m responsible for you and if you don’t do as you’re told... I’m the one who'll pay the price. I didn’t want to be put in this position, but Faso said that if you just continue doing what you have been doing... killing without a fight... people will lose interest. After that, do you think Faso would let you keep your body slave, the lavish food, and those luxurious quarters?”

Genda stared forward for a moment as he realized how much worse his life could have been. He glanced at Mosk as if to silently acknowledge the message and nodded. Uva Mosk picked up his armour so it could be cleaned off as well and then departed.

For nearly twenty minutes, Genda stood under the shower as if trying to wash away the blood of all his past victims. His body was still stained with the blood of hundreds just like him... slaves put into harm's way and killing to avoid being killed. He frequently told himself that it was either him or them. If not him, then they would’ve been the ones with his blood on their hands. Recently, the words hadn’t been holding up his spirit as once they did.

-------

After that, Genda was escorted to his private quarters, which normally housed guests, but were given to him by his master. The other gladiators were locked in cages or prison cells because they were not expected to stay for more than a few days... as their average life expectancy was less than a month.

Genda had a body slave which was given to him as well. His master allowed him to choose a personal slave about a year ago, when he was becoming a prominent gladiator to ease the stress of life outside the arena. Tashi was the most beautiful woman Genda had ever seen and was utterly loyal to her master’s wishes. Despite being almost a decade older than him, she had fulfilled his every command since then.

At first, Tashi served little other than as a constant companion, but over the months, Genda had come to depend on her for the years of wisdom that he did not have. The two had an odd relationship because despite being her master, Tashi wasn’t totally obedient to him. She had never committed insubordination, but Tashi often acted to serve her master’s best interests... more so than what he demanded of her.

When Genda returned to their quarters, he collapsed in a chair, exhausted from battle. Even after five years, each fight was just as stressful to him as the one before... he never grew comfortable or used to fighting for his life every week. Since achieving the title of 'best gladiator on Sleheyron,' life had become much more difficult after each fight.

He soon felt her hand rubbing against his right shoulder and he nestled it under his palm. Just her touch seemed to give him great comfort and a means to smile without reason. He turned his head and was pleasantly surprised at what he saw. Tashi was wearing the gold bikini he liked so much. It surprised him because he knew that she found it very uncomfortable. Although she would have worn it upon his command, he gave her the liberty to wear whatever she wanted. It had been months since he saw it on her.

After a moment of staring, he moved his eyes from her breasts to her face and gestured to the outfit. “What’s this?”

“You said this was your favorite, Master Genda. I thought it would cheer you up.”

He scoffed. “But you hate it.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “If it makes you happy, then it’s worth it. Besides, it’s going to come off soon enough anyway.”

He sighed nervously. “Tashi, may I ask you a question?”

She grinned. “Of course, sir.”

He sighed again and waited a moment to ask. “Do you find it difficult to do your duty?”

She gave him a confused look and then thought very intensely about the question. Not quite in complete honesty, she confidently replied. “For you, never.”

“Are you telling me the truth, or are you telling me what I want to hear?” He asked.

She looked deep into his eyes as if there were a puzzle of which to unwrap before she could give a more literal answer. “Sometimes, we do what we want to. The rest of the time... we do what we have to.”

“You’re not answering my question.” He gestured to her outfit. “Did you... want to put this on? Did you... want to do everything I’ve commanded of you since our first meeting?"

She did not want to answer the question factually, but she gave an honest reply. "You didn't command me to wear this. Surely that means something."

He shook his head. "Is there not one thing I’ve demanded of you that you wouldn’t have done had I not asked it?”

Tashi glanced down at the same bikini she wore when she had been given to Genda, almost a year ago. It reminded her much of her last master, which was one reason she hated wearing it. Although Genda gave her the option to wear something else, she knew that he would have wanted her to wear it all the time. That left her wondering if it were just an extension of her duty to please her present master, or if she genuinely did it of her own free will. The thought made her uneasy as to how much was expected from her compared to what she had actually given since being with Genda. “Sir, neither of us have control of our lives. You answer to your own master. I answer to you.”

He sighed and leaned his head back, still not satisfied with that.

She scoffed. “Sir, what do you want me to say? If you have something you want of me, just ask. You need not worry about hurting my feelings.”

“Well I do.” He turned to face her, but noticed her stomach bulging ever so slightly, but enough to be recognized. As he stared at her for that long moment, Tashi waited anxiously for his reaction. When he looked up and smiled, she chuckled and rubbed her belly. “You’re pregnant.” He said factually.

She smiled bashfully. “You have a son or a daughter. He’s growing inside me now.”

Genda stood up so quickly that he put too much strain on a back muscle that he had injured with the kell dragon. He dropped to a knee and held his backside, groaning in pain.

Tashi came to his side and rubbed the area he had been holding. “Oh... what have they done to you?”

“I’m alright. It’s just a muscle, not a critical organ.”

She pulled his shirt off to reveal the various bruises and scars from past injuries, many of which she had treated, and pressed against the flesh to determine the kind of injury he sustained. “You’ve got a bad knot in the muscles here. What happened?”

“A kell dragon. It landed on top of me.”

She helped him to his feet. “Oh god. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been. You are so brave.”

“I’m not brave. I just did what I had to.”

She helped him to the bed and gently set him face-down. After she started massaging the knotted muscles, Tashi asked “Is that helping?”

“Yes. Thank-you.” He extended his left hand to hold her wrist as she kept rubbing his back. She had acquired a wide knowledge of treating wounds over the last year as Genda taught her how to diagnose and assist with his injuries.

As she tended to him, Tashi thought about the question he had asked earlier; she knew that she wasn’t acting out of a sense of obligation. “I never did answer your question.”

“What?”

“Why I serve you... the truth is that I’m humbled by you.”

He lifted his head to look at her apologetically. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about. You’re the best gladiator on Sleheyron and I was just a lowly servant before you took me. Now I’m recognized as Genda’s servant.”

He rolled himself on his back to face Tashi directly. “Why would I matter?”

She crossed her arms and smiled. “You’re a very kind master. Your name protects me from the guards, I eat as well as you do. I would do anything to please you for all that.”

He sighed. “So are you saying that all those times that we...?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “You were a kid. I knew you wanted me for that purpose. It’s what I expected.”

After a moment of silence, he sat up. “You were more than that.”

She gave him a vague smile. “I know.”

He nodded and let his head rest against the wall behind him. Tashi went to the other side of the bed and Genda moved aside to give her room to lay down next to him. She and he sat with their backs against the wall, both scantly-clad, and waited for the other to speak.

Genda stared at Tashi’s belly for a long moment as he tried to contemplate how their future had changed. Her knees had been in the way, but when she saw him looking, she moved them to give him an unobstructed view. While he was apparently very anxious, she looked and acted very cheerful. He seemed ashamed. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” She asked.

“For forcing this... child upon you.”

She frowned. “I thought you’d be happy. I wish it had come sooner.”

“I’m not going to be there with you! Someday, I’m not going to come back when I enter that arena. What do you think will happen after that?” He buried his head in his hands. “Tashi, I don’t want anything to happen to you. I don’t know what Faso will do with you after I’m dead.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck. “I'll be fine. You just concentrate on your own life. You don't need to worry about me.”

“How can’t I?!” He screamed, gripping her shoulders. “I need to know that you’re going to be alright. I have to ensure that you and the child will be safe. I can't bear the thought of you ending up in Faso's service...!”

Tashi brushed his hands off and stood up. “Get a hold of yourself! You’re whining about something that’s beyond your control! You can’t free me, only your master can do that! And if he learns that I’m carrying your child, do you think he would just free me? He would sell me off for a premium... do you think I’d be bought by a kinder master than you? Do you think I would like that?”

He lowered his head. “No.”

She sat back on the bed and rubbed her hand across his back. “Look, I’m very touched that you care what will happen to me, but it is not within your power to decide my fate. I can’t leave these quarters and you can’t give me that... can you?”

He buried his head in his hands again. “Surely there’s... something.”

She massaged the knot of muscles. Although he didn’t react, she knew it was painful for him. “There is one thing you can do... fight. Fight to stay alive for as long as you possibly can. As long as you’re alive, you still have control.”

He sat up and placed his back against the wall. The coolness of the duracrete eased the sharp sensation almost as much as a gentle hand, but after spending a long two hours in the heat, it was pleasant. It was as if he felt the excess body heat being sapped from his flesh. After gasping a deep inhalation, he slowly let it out.

When he opened his eyes, Genda smiled radiantly at what filled his sight. Tashi’s red hair loosely suspended upon her bare shoulders. The majority of it veiled most of the right shoulder while some of the loose strands flowed into the cleavage of her breasts. Her arms rested upon her thighs with one hand holding the bracelet on her opposite wrist. The flesh on her biceps pressed against her ridged bra, apparently uncomfortable to her. Resting on her knees, Tashi’s posture caused a crease across the flesh along her midriff. The solid lower piece of her outfit had been wedged between her legs and belly with the loincloth blanketing most of her left leg. Only a single bare foot was visible from where the extent of the cloth ended.

That was the most beautiful site he had ever seen in his life. The though that that attractive, scantily-clad woman across the bed being his to do with as he desired made Genda feel that he had so much. He extended his hand out and rubbed her exposed foot. His touch made her giggle and smile with great joy. He forced out a chuckle. “You... are a goddess."

She let out a very energetic laugh. "Yeah! If you think that, then why don't you worship me?" She crawled beside and brushed her hand across his chest. "Hate to disappoint you, but... goddesses usually aren't lowly servants like me."

He grinned and then let his head rest against the wall. "God. It feels like a lifetime ago... it’s only been five years. I never would have believed I'd end up here..." He looked into Tashi's eyes. "I have so much, and yet... I'm also someone else’s property.”

Tashi thought to mention that she’d been a slave all her life, but felt that she didn’t have the right to compare herself to him. She knew that her life was never at risk, let alone put into danger like Genda’s. She knew he was stronger than he seemed, but had been constantly in fear of his life. Although she had much more labor and loyalty demanded from her than him, Tashi at least had a means of staying safe and alive so long as she did what was required. Genda had no such option because other slaves were forced to kill or be killed by him.

Almost out of pity, she rolled on her side and held him in her arms. “Forget about that. It doesn’t matter.”

“Please. This is not the best time to...”

She kissed him. “It is always a time like this. There never is an after. Things don’t miraculously change and get better, and the universe never stops to accommodate us. All any of us has is now, so unless you’re an utter fool you should use it how you can.”

“You have a future...”

“Don’t say that word again. Neither of us can worry about tomorrow. Do you know why?” She whispered into his ear. “What we do here and now makes no difference tomorrow. People like us don’t have a later... all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” She took his hand and put it on her belly. “This child I carry... he likely will never know his father. When he’s born, he will be taken from us and sold. We won’t see him grow up.” She embraced Genda. “There will be a day when you don’t come back to me. When you’re gone, I’ll be sold to another, less considerate master. Do you think I’m ignorant to all that?”

He shook his head.

“Do you think I look forward to that future?”

He stared at her, silently saying no.

“Then how do you think I get by? How do you think I can get by without losing my sanity?”

“How do you know you still have it?”

She exhaled in disgust and rolled off the bed to leave. “If you’re going to be childish about this, then I won’t...”

“No! I didn’t mean it that way!” He stretched out to grab her by the arm, but hurt his backside again.

When he fell back on the bed, she turned around and rubbed the area again. “Then how did you mean it? I guess you're right. I must be if I keep tending to you... that I keep trying to help you when you just keep pushing me away.”

He gently held her wrist again. “I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t even know if I, myself, am still sane.”

She sat down next to him, still laying face-down on the bed. “Of course you still are. You can’t just free yourself from life’s problems by losing your mind. If you had, nothing would matter anyway. Might as well assume you’ve still got your mind.” She rolled Genda on his back and crawled on top of him. “You’ve still got me... and I’ve got you.” After he closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around her, Tashi kissed him and held her mouth over his for as long as he would let her.

“You know that this is a mistake? I’m not long for this world.”

“I’d rather cry for you after you're dead than until then.” She unstrapped her bikini top.

He held the top where it was. “Stop it. I told you that your body belongs to you.”

She brushed his hand away and pulled off the top, revealing her breasts. “I don't know if you've noticed, but I hate this bikini and want to take it off. You want me, but are too afraid to ask, so I'll just give it to you anyway. If you’re going to die soon, then you might as well use the time that is given to you.”

Genda would have pulled himself away had he not already been pinned down. “Please... stop this!”

She moved her head right next to his ear. “Just let yourself go. Faso gave me to you in order to keep you happy. Since you don’t know what you want, I’ll do this again and again until you learn to relax.”

“Alright, now I know you’re insane.”

Tashi looked at him, almost on the verge of crying. She didn’t like seeing Genda so miserable from day to day. Living with him for a year had been hard because his brooding reflected upon her. She was desperate for him to be able to smile or at least stop complaining about his impending death. “Yes, I’m insane. Just shut up and enjoy this.”

He had been intimidated by what Tashi was doing. Although she never objected when he had seduced her, Genda had been more afraid of her advances than that of the kell dragon’s. “Please!”

She whispered into his ear. “All the times you asked me to spread my legs... if you want to get rid of me, you'll need to call the guards. There is nothing other than us. Just trust me.”

Genda was mortified at how Tashi had just thrown herself at him. In that moment, he got a better understanding of what it must have been like for her the first several times he seduced her. When she asked him to trust her, it was an almost implicit trust. Despite his reservations, Genda followed through as she had with him a year ago. He reached around her waist and unfastened the bottom piece of her outfit... soon everything else was swept away.

---------

Genda had been more terrified throughout their experience than he ever was in the face of an armed opponent. Tashi wanted him to get his mind off his impending death by having all his attention on her and it worked... to an extent. Genda kept expecting her to pull out a knife or something that would have explained why she just threw herself at him, but nothing was made apparent. Despite his injury, Genda just endured the pain and treated the act of pleasure as if it were a battle.

When it was over, he stared at Tashi on the opposite side of the bed, still expecting to see that knife. Despite knowing Genda was far from relaxed, Tashi just closed her eyes and embraced him. “Tell me... what are you thinking right now?”

He didn’t answer.

“That wasn’t a rhetorical question.”

He looked into her eyes, almost appalled. “I’m sorry if I’m that dense, but I don’t know what you wanted of me just now.”

She moved back to her side of the bed and crossed her arms. “Alright... you weren’t as fortunate as me to be born a slave. It’s always difficult for one such as you to adapt to a completely different kind of life.” She faced him. “I wasn’t aware that you’ve never completely adjusted.”

“What does that have to do with... us?”

She chuckled. “If I had known, I would have taught you a long time ago, but recently... you started talking about things that a slave shouldn’t be thinking.”

“What things?”

“Just a while ago, you were on the verge of panic. You started worrying about what will happen to me after you die, you couldn’t make decisions for yourself, as well as shutting me out... in short: you were taking the weight of matters that you have no control over.”

“You told me you were pregnant. How was I supposed to react?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “I thought you would’ve been happy, knowing your bloodline would endure.”

“That wasn’t what really was on my mind at the time. I know that you were pregnant before, but you had an abortion.”

She sat up in surprise. “How did you...?”

“The guard told me... the one who gave you what you needed to terminate the pregnancy. He thought I deserved to know.”

She stared somewhere away blankly. “I didn’t want a child with you.”

“I know. I understand why you did it. I just would have preferred I heard it from you.”

She nodded her head. “It was your child. I didn’t have the right. I knew it, but I defied you and killed what was inside me without your permission. I have no excuse.”

He tilted his head to one side. “You don’t have to justify what you did. You had the right to your own body... I just wish you didn’t feel you had to go behind my back to do it.” Genda put his hand on her belly. “If you don’t want this child, it is your right to terminate the pregnancy. You don’t need my permission.”

She turned her head away and started crying.

“What’s wrong?”

She paused a long moment before facing him again. “You’re so kind. I don’t deserve mercy for what I’ve done.”

“Stop crying. You have nothing to be sorry for.”

She shook her head. “When I was first given to you, I just assumed you were going to die soon enough... I didn’t want to get attached to a walking corpse. It happened within a month of when we were first intimate. At the time, I hated what you had planted in my uterus. I was glad to get rid of it... I didn’t care what you thought about it then.”

He nodded. “I had abused you far too much. For that, I’m sorry.”

She leaned her head back, tears still pouring from her eyes. “There had come a point when you started asking me and only got intimate with my consent. Then you changed; you came to respect my feelings, you asked less and less from me, you gave me as much freedom as I've ever had." She smiled almost painfully. "You showed that you really cared for me. And as the months passed, I regretted what I did more and more. But at the same time, I kept expecting that you were going to die... I didn’t know whether it was better or not.”

He sighed. “You didn’t want to become too attached to a walking corpse?”

She shook her head. “If I had not terminated that first pregnancy, you could have seen your child... that is something I deprived of you... it's something I deprived of myself.”

He rubbed the side of her face and then pulled the blanket away so he could see her belly. Tashi put his hand there as she smiled hopefully.

Genda smiled in great joy at what she and he would eventually share. “I guess that it will give me more reason to come back alive." He chuckled nervously. "How far along are you?”

“About a month.”

Genda thought of his chances of surviving long enough to see his son or daughter and came to realize they weren’t good. Over the years, the gladiatorial matches he was pitted against got increasingly harder and were already pushing him to the limits of his abilities. If the child were born in another seven months, he would’ve had to survive another 28 battles. Compared to the over 200 he’s gone through, it wouldn’t have seemed like much, but it meant he HAD to beat every single opponent he was up against... opponents fighting for their lives equally hard.

As his mind wandered off, Tashi was there to bring his attention back on the moment.

Darth_Yuthura has requested a fanfic review for this thread.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 03-13-2009 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:51 PM   #2
Rev7
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WOW

Amazing first chapter, and I think that I might know where this story is headed....

The battle scenes were masterfully described. I don't think that I could ever imagine myself in a situation like that--fighting for my life in a match that is supposed to be entertaining. It must be hard to face yourself day after day of killing those that are in the same position as he is in. Tashi seems like Genda's lifeline--one of the driving forces that keeps him going.

Really interesting, and I look forward to reading more!

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Old 12-31-2008, 06:30 PM   #3
Darth_Yuthura
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Glad you approve. I want to do something a little more radical for this fiction, so I'm including some inside jokes and parodies as well.

I really enjoyed making fun of the metal bikini; so much that I'm going to include it a number of times in this story. Genda is also going to be a sucker whenever Tashi has it on. What is it about that outfit? Is it the costume, or the one wearing it?... you'll find out soon enough.

I would also like to include more of the 'little pieces' of the characters' lives. I have a lot of dialog written for a scene of Genda and Tashi having breakfast, but I wanted to show just how much you can understand a character based on how easily s/he gets distracted or displays body language. Being 3rd person, I can broaden the range of the plot as well.

If there are any inside jokes or parodies that fans would like to see, please suggest them. I just would like to include them, but won't likely revolve a chapter around them. Thanks and hope you enjoy the read.
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:08 PM   #4
Rabish Bini
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WOW

Amazing first chapter, and I think that I might know where this story is headed....

The battle scenes were masterfully described. I don't think that I could ever imagine myself in a situation like that--fighting for my life in a match that is supposed to be entertaining. It must be hard to face yourself day after day of killing those that are in the same position as he is in. Tashi seems like Genda's lifeline--one of the driving forces that keeps him going.

Really interesting, and I look forward to reading more!
Agreed.

One thing that bothers me slightly, is his name. Genda seems not only a weird name, but also like a girls name, ah well


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Old 01-01-2009, 11:16 PM   #5
Darth_Yuthura
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Chapter 2: In Purgatory's Shadow

For the first time in a long while, Genda got a very restful sleep in the company of one he loved. It was very early in the morning and Tashi was still sound asleep, but Genda was wide awake. He had been mesmerized by just how peaceful she seemed and how much more content he was just watching her rest easy.

He knew that his love was not the storybook, perfect match, perfect destiny kind of thing would might have once believed. She was simply the only woman in his life as he was the only man in hers. His feelings for her were indeed genuine, but they likely wouldn’t have come under 'normal' circumstances. Her feelings for him were manufactured because he didn't exploit his control over her life. Her reason for being drawn to Genda came because he was her master, but that he gave her as much freedom as he could yield. Had the circumstances been different, she wouldn't have been drawn to one so young as the one holding her.

When she unconsciously rolled away, Genda moved right behind and rested his arm over her bare body, covered only by the blanket. She slowly awoke and smiled.

“Hi there.” He said.

“Good morning." She pulled the blanket off. "Just give me a minute and I’ll get breakfast ready.”

As she tried to get up, Genda held her back. “No. I’ll take care of it. You just go back to sleep.” He moved his head within centimeters of hers. “I’ll let you play master for a while.”

She laid her head back on the pillow and smiled. “Hmm... that would be nice.”

Genda stared at her for a while longer before getting himself out of bed. He started preparing something that had been delivered to their quarters the previous night. Their food was delivered, but Tashi had to cook it. Faso didn’t want to waste additional money on room service when Genda had a slave sitting in his quarters all day. ‘Might as well put her to work. She’s not doing anything else.’ he might have said.

He had almost finished with the cooking and got a plate ready for Tashi when she came up behind him. “You should have added Raglan spice to the casserole before, not after you bake it.”

He chuckled. “Well forgive me. I’m not the expert here, but I think it’ll due...” He turned around to see Tashi in the gold bikini again. “You don’t have to wear that you know.”

Tashi sat down, staring at his chest. “You don’t have to walk around without a shirt you know... I do rather like the view though.”

He glanced at himself for a second before turning back to the cooking. “Look, I really like that outfit on you, but if you don’t want to wear it, you shouldn’t.”

She thought for a moment. “Actually, I do.”

He turned around, expecting that Tashi was only joking, but clearly she wasn’t. “Why?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “This may sound strange, but I actually would like to wear this as long as I can before I begin to look like a Hutt. Once that happens, it would be a long time before I can fit into it again.”

He nodded. “So you’re going to wear this ridiculous outfit simply because you can?”

She stood up from the table and prominently displayed herself to Genda. “Alright, I'll tell you why: it makes you hotter than a G-type star. It has the power to make you do anything I ask. Have you ever said ‘no’ to me when I’ve worn it?”

“I see your point, but you shouldn't push it.” He chuckled while scooping some strange eggs we couldn't identify. When he handed her the plate, Genda just kept staring at her belly. She noticed and gave him a very smug smile as she took the plate to the table. For some reason, seeing her so happy at such a simple flattery reminded him of how much he disliked the life of a slave. There was little reason he could see for either of them to smile.

After he took a plate for himself, Genda sat across from Tashi, but not so he could eat. He just shifted the contents around the dish with a small bite every now and again. She noticed his look of being discontent which came so quickly after laughing only a moment ago. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.”

She put down the utensil and intertwined her fingers. “Please don’t look that way. You’re thinking about the future, aren’t you?”

He let his knife clatter on the plate. “It's difficult not to.”

She got up and stood behind Genda to rub his shoulders. “Remember what I told you; we only have the moment. Don’t worry about the future. All you have is the here and the now. There is nothing else.”

“That’s easy for you to say! The problem is that I have very little future. I’m not thinking of the future because I don’t have much of one to worry about.”

She kneeled beside and in front of him. “So what are you going to do? Throw away the moment as well?” She grasped his shoulders, hard enough to draw some blood with her fingernails. “Is that what you believed five years ago?! Is that why you're still here?!”

“Nothing's changed. I’m exactly where I was then.”

She looked at him with tears coming from her eyes. “The future is never certain. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’ve been through. All I know is that you’ve never given up. Are you saying that you’d have been just as well off dying five years ago as you would have yesterday? Please don’t abandon me.” She stood up and slowly walked away. “Your life might not matter that much to you, but it means everything to me. Please don’t throw it away.” She shook her head. “If that’s not enough, then remember that you also have mine.”

Genda started weeping after she moved out of sight. He felt worse about his situation than ever before. He realized it wasn’t just his death that was at stake, but Tashi’s future as well. There was no escape that didn’t involve fighting and living through a battle every week for the rest of his life. He was already convinced that he was going to die long before Tashi would ever give birth to their child, so it didn’t seem to be a matter of 'if,' but 'when' his end would be. Although the same was true for him five years ago, Genda never really had a set date upon which he had to live.

To him, each battle carried him to the next and he’d do that for as long as possible. With Tashi’s expected birth date being about seven months away, he was no longer able to think ‘as long as possible.’ He had to survive for that long if he ever wanted to hold his child and another month might have been enough for Tashi to get pregnant again. He didn’t anticipate that he would ever see that second child, but he might have lived long enough to see their first.

As Genda thought further ahead of what possible futures were open to them, his crying got louder and with more pain. Almost a minute passed of weeping and wailing before Tashi came back for him. Her presence didn’t silence his crying, but it eased his pain dramatically. He grasped her so tight that she struggled to breathe. Each were in agony because of the other, but Tashi knew it was up to her to keep them both together.

--------

Nearly an hour after he lost control, Genda had finally been calmed by Tashi’s gentle words and comforting touch. While she had been very saddened by what was happening to Genda, she thought much higher of herself for being able to come through for him. While he had been revealing many of his frailties, it gave her hope, yet terrified her that Genda’s strength had been waning so rapidly.

When Tashi had been given the responsibility almost a year ago, she hadn’t realized just how much more went with the job than she anticipated. A part of Tashi blamed herself for terminating the first pregnancy and having it lead up to their current dilemma. Because he had known all along what she had done, it wasn’t until he had been informed of the second that he truly started to fall apart.

When he was able, Genda told her some things that were in his heart, but was afraid to admit. “Tashi... you are the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m sorry, but I just can’t keep this up forever.”

“You can’t just give up. You’ve held on for five years. You’re the best one out there.”

He nodded. “Five years is a long time. I’ve held out long past what was expected of me. It’s only a matter of time before I’m up against a challenge I won’t beat.” He extended his hand to touch her belly again. “I guess I just would’ve liked to see this child born before I fall.”

“You may yet.” She held his hand in hers. “Isn’t that worth fighting for?”

“Of course, but it’s a vein hope at this point.”

“Stop saying that. It’s not over until it’s over.”

He just stared at her. “I’m sorry Tashi. It’s become harder to live with death smiling at me every week than to just... end it all.”

She held his shoulders and tried to comfort him for a moment before sitting down in an uncushioned chair. Tashi was still wearing her metal bikini and the pelvis pieces were uncomfortable for her to sit on. Her outfit clearly wasn’t made with the slave’s comfort in mind. Genda noticed. “Look on the bright side. You’ll never have to wear that outfit for me again.”

She stared at herself and chuckled before coming up with an amusing joke. “Remember what I said earlier about this bikini? How you can’t resist me when I put it on?”

He gave a smug smile. “Yes, I’m a sucker for you when you’re scantly-clad. Even I’m not above having male instincts. The truth is that if you're uncomfortable in it, I have to be extra nice.”

She smiled almost maliciously. “You’ve never refused me when I had it on before. Let’s see how far I can push it.” She jokingly went up to him and playfully spoke. “You are going to do whatever it takes to stay alive and you will live to see your son... or daughter.”

Genda just stared at her for a long moment and then let out a burst of laughter. “Alright, that’s a good one.” He sat next to her and gazed upon her costume. “Like my life and yours aren’t incentive enough, you think I would fight harder so that I can see you in a bikini?”

She grinned and extended an offer. “I’ll wear it all the time if that would give you more incentive to come back.”

They burst out laughing at the humor of the situation. In times when people were given reasons to live, very few would come up with such a meager incentive. But sometimes, the simplest rewards were worth the most. But what she offered was not all that simple; Tashi really had offered to allow her body to be decorated in whatever way pleased Genda.

“Thanks, but that’s not really necessary, nor would it really make a difference. I’m not going to let you down.”

She crossed her arms. “I was serious. If you want, I’ll go around naked if it helps you even a little more.”

He stared at her in utter confusion. “Did you hit your head or something?”

“No... you’ve got a lot of stress going on in your life. The only way to deal with that stress is to have something to alleviate it.” She shrugged her shoulders. “In this case... me. Besides, it's not like anyone other than you would see me.”

He looked and spoke to her with utter objection. “No. I’m not going to abuse you like I had...”

She covered his mouth. “I appreciate that you’ve been respecting my feelings, but you can’t afford to worry about me when you have to keep your sanity.”

“I don’t understand.”

Tashi nodded. “It is my duty to keep you happy; that means I will do whatever you want of me. Whatever you want, you will demand it of me and pay no heed to what I feel. If that is what you must do to maintain your sanity, I will not take offense.” She stood up and took a stance as if she were a soldier. “What do you want me to do for you?”

"I don't know if I like this."

"You can't do what you need to because you're worried about my feelings. As long as you do that, you're only going to become even more miserable than you already are. Just tell me what you want from me. If it's not too much, I'll do it."

He looked at the clock. “I would normally train right now with other gladiators...” he faced me. “But I’d like to go back to bed... with you.”

Tashi figured as much, but she had no problem with sharing another’s company when she had been alone most of the time.

-------

(Three months later)

Genda and Tashi had been slowly drifting apart. When she chose to take on her original role as his personal slave, Genda had only reluctantly done as she asked of him. He didn’t want to ignore the feelings of the one he loved, but she constantly reminded him that his psychological health was more important than hers. Genda did what Tashi asked and avoided having a psychotic breakdown, but it took a toll on her.

At first, he always asked with a ‘please’ and a ‘thank-you’ for her services, as well as addressing her like an equal. She would have been very happy with that arrangement, but as the weeks went by, he slowly began to forget those little niceties.

From Tashi’s perspective, ‘Could you make dinner?’ and ‘Prepare dinner.’ meant exactly the same, but one was much more pleasant to follow than the other. Because she was Genda’s servant, a request was literally an order, but it at least gave her some sense that she was doing a favor where as a direct order was an obligation.

In addition, words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ had been spoken less and less to her. Tashi thought she had been used to serving and not being recognized by her past master, but as Genda stopped saying them, she was became hurt by their absence. It was almost as though everything that she loved about him had been evaporating since then.

Tashi also promised to wear that metal bikini he liked so much. She'd often worn tight and revealing outfits for the purpose of being eye-candy, so she didn’t have much in the way of modesty. She had hoped that through her small sacrifice, Genda would've been more pleasant to be around... at the very least, it added a little more incentive for him to smile more.

The problem for her was that it was uncomfortable, especially when she was pregnant. The first time she wore another garb, Genda made her feel as though she weren't much at keeping promises. In response, she adjusted the bottom piece to accommodate her pregnant belly, but it just became more cumbersome and tighter around her waist.

Although that seemed only a minor inconvenience, it fed upon another stress she had to deal with. Her outfit prominently displayed everything, so Genda's eyes naturally went to her breasts, but they gravitated to her midsection much more than her eyes. In addition to the frequent rubbing of her belly, Tashi wasn't sure if he were appreciating her or the child she carried more.

Even when Tashi was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, she kept supporting Genda without realizing that she was in a far worse condition than he was. It was not love or loyalty that drove her, but sympathy. She seriously believed that he was in a far worse position and that she was the only one who could ease his suffering. ‘Anything directed at me is just a reflection of what he’s going through. He needs me.’ she often thought.

-----

Genda’s master, Faso the Hutt, was one of the lesser crime lords on Sleheyron. Unlike the majority of the Hutts, he earned most of his profits through legal means. With an abundance of energy, factories represented almost twenty percent of all the urban landscape of Sleheyron. Faso invested most of his assets into the production of manufactured goods... not the most profitable path compared to most of the other Hutt’s illegal activities, but it generated a stable stream of profit that Faso enjoyed more than single big gains or loses per transaction.

His small empire reflected his personality. He was not out to make the most profit possible, but to make the best use of the resources he started with. He enjoyed making deals and finding new opportunities much more than just watching his stable investments pour unceasing profit into his pocketbook.

Genda was a perfect example of the kind of investment Faso loved finding, but would loose interest in after a time. When he was in the competition for the title of ‘best gladiator,’ He was one of Faso’s favorite assets because he had much potential that had to be developed and exploited. Once Genda had been given the title, he had passed his prime and no longer was any interest to one such as Faso.

Genda kept generating revenue for Faso in the gladiatorial matches, but his return on investment was shrinking rapidly. Meetings between him and Faso were most often to discuss how best Genda could generate revenue for his master.

When he stood before Faso, Genda never looked directly into his master’s eyes, but off to the side. He just never wanted to give him the dignity of having his full attention.

A moment of silence elapsed before Faso began in hutteese. “What am I going to do with you? You simply won’t... die.”

“That’s because I’m the best there ever was. No one can stand against me.”

The Hutt laughed pitifully. “The problem is no one is willing to throw their best gladiators into the arena with you. Ever since you won the grand title, you have not been pitted against one worthy opponent or creature. You’ve just been butchering thieves, beggars, misfit slaves, and the cheapest creatures anyone finds in the wild.” He cursed in Hutteese. “I can’t sell you because you’re worth more than anyone would offer for a spent slave. You only yield a fraction of what you used to. I’d have to pay way too much for a suitable opponent to beat you in the arena. I can’t just throw you in against an overwhelming number of opponents... what am I going to do with you?”

“You could let me go.”

The Hutt laughed very cruelly. “Still clinging to the hope that you won’t die in the arena?” He continued laughing. “You still have one last great battle to give before your service to me is concluded. And that battle is coming three days from now.”

Genda was suddenly filled with terror. “What are you talking about?!”

“Genda, you’re just not yielding a high enough return to be worthwhile. The odds are stacked so much in your favor that it’d be foolish for anyone to bet against you.” He laughed again in a very sadistic way. “Or very profitable for those who wager heavily for the underdog.” He laughed even louder. “For all your years of loyal service to me, I feel that you at least deserve to know that you served me well. As much as I would’ve liked to see you live to a ripe old age, I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make more in one day than you had given me throughout your entire career.”

Genda was so infuriated that he tried to attack Faso, but armed guards cocked their guns to keep him back. “You shutta! The other Hutts will kill you if you bet under the table! You can’t do this!”

“You’ve served me better than any other gladiator I’ve ever had. Now you have but one final duty to perform.” He saluted Genda. “I release you from my service, Genda. You will enter the arena and leave a corpse. And don’t worry, I’ve prepared a challenge that even you cannot survive. You may surrender to save yourself a miserable death, but I know you’ll keep fighting until you can’t fight anymore.” He gestured with his arms. “And when Genda, the greatest gladiator on Sleheyron, falls and stays down, it will be to the sound of...” He began clapping.

“No!” Genda couldn’t restrain his anger any longer and lunged at the Hutt before being hit by the guard’s stun blasters.

When he hit the floor, Faso started laughing. “Good. I hope you fight with that much insanity when you’re thrown into the arena three days from now.” He gestured the guards to pull Genda back up.

Genda was numb, but still trying to break free of the guards. He was soon hit over the head with the butt-end of one of the blasters, but was not knocked out. They held him down on his knees, but he had already stopped resisting.

Faso gestured to someone out of Genda’s sight. “One last thing: please understand that this isn’t personal. I just want you at your best for your final battle.”

Genda heard Tashi struggling as she had been brought in by another guard. Genda instinctively tried to break free of the guards who were restraining him, but they had him firmly pinned to the floor.

When Tashi was presented to Faso, he handled her for a moment and despite Genda’s threats, he brushed his slimy tongue across her face and chest. She had been crying in terror as Faso cuddled her in his arms. “Very pretty thing.”

“Tashi!” Genda screamed as he kept trying to break free.

“Don’t worry, slave, she won’t share your fate. She’s worth almost nothing on the black market.” He rubbed her stomach. “But the infants within her... although your Mandalorian blood may have thinned even more, your offspring will fetch a huge profit.” He pinched her cheeks. “And after you’ve served your purpose my dear, you’ll have the honor of becoming my personal servant.“

“Please! I’ll do anything you ask, just don’t hurt him.” She begged.

“You’re both mine to do with as I please.” He shoved her towards the guard. “Secure her.”

“No! Tashi! Tashi!” Genda screamed. As she had been dragged away, his anger swelled beyond anything he had ever felt before that moment. She was more important to him than anything and he could not allow any harm to come to his loved one.

At the same time, Faso started another rant. “Yes, for the next three days, you’ll go so insane with rage and you’ll become the living weapon you were meant to be. It was never about survival, it was about killing and that’s what you’ll do... slave.”

Genda unleashed a deafening scream and overpowered the four guards holding him on his knees as well as breaking the binders around his wrists. “Let her go!” he shouted at the guard restraining Tashi. He rushed to protect her.

Suddenly, everyone in that room was filled with horror as Genda became a terrible affrighter. Even Faso and Tashi were terrorized by his resolve. She turned away and fell to her knees, shrieking in panic. She had never seen him like that and seriously thought he was going to harm her.

All that mattered to him was safeguarding her, but even his strength of will could not overcome the numerous bursts of blaster energy that channeled through his body, disrupting his nervous system and paralyzing his muscles. Although the weapons were set for stun, even a pureblooded Mandalorian shouldn’t have been able to endure more than four or five blasts before passing out. Genda had been hit over a dozen times before finally collapsing just in front of Tashi.

She piled herself next to him, desperate to help him, but he was only conscious long enough to know he had failed. Before he did, he uttered to Tashi, “I’m sorry.” Those words cut through her soul like a knife and she wept upon his battered body. It was a miracle that he broke free at all, let alone reach her for that one last time. She grasped him, knowing that they were going to be separated permanently. He fought for her to the end. Although she couldn't do the same, she wouldn't allow anyone to touch him.

Genda’s episode left everyone in the chamber, even Faso, stunned. Tashi’s sniffling seemingly echoed throughout the room and she had been allowed a moment to grieve without interference from the guards. It wasn’t compassion that they stayed away, but the fear of Genda. It wasn’t until Faso ordered them to restrain Tashi that anyone got between the two.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 02-04-2009 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:49 PM   #6
Rabish Bini
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I'm loving it so far, one thing I like about your chaps is, the length. Some fics tend to have too short chaps, but your a pretty much perfect.
Good job


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Old 01-03-2009, 02:13 AM   #7
Rev7
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Agreed!

Amazing chapter and it really stinks that Faso is setting Genda up like that because it really is cruel. I definately look forward to reading more DY! Keep it up
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Originally Posted by Rabish Bini View Post
One thing that bothers me slightly, is his name. Genda seems not only a weird name, but also like a girls name, ah well
I thought the same thing at first, but it dawned on me that this is set in the Star Wars universe, so practically anything is possible. Weird names are quite common, BTW.

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Old 01-03-2009, 02:31 PM   #8
Darth_Yuthura
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Actually, I had chosen the name of the Japanese officer who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, Commander Minoru Genda. This may get me some criticism for using a person who would be regarded as an enemy of the US, but I respected Commander Genda for his brilliance in exploiting known vulnerabilities in order to achieve a tactical knockout against an American stronghold.

One thing that I've planned, but am reconsidering is adding known characters from TSL to this fiction. I think I've created a decent pair of original characters and may decide to touch TSL as little as possible because there are so many KOTOR III era-stories and don't want to do something that mirrors SiD.

One sidenote: I had Faso in the last chapter being so cruel for the sake of 'prepping' Genda psychologically to fight like a madman for his final battle. Tormenting him was not meant to be the act of a sadist, but to 'train' Genda like people train fighting dogs.

Next chapter is ready... coming tonight.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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Chapter 3: The Bridge to Hell

Genda awoke in great pain within his quarters. He had been carried in an left on the floor. “Tashi...? Tashi?!” he cried, knowing she wasn’t there. Despite the pain, he stood up and collapsed as he went for the door. He hit the panel, but it was locked from the outside. He hit it again only to hear it beeping in rejection again. The third time, he shattered the panel in anger and slid back to the floor, wailing in anger and agony.

He knew that he was locked in and could not escape. He had no expertise in picking the lock and no idea how to escape. Even if he found a power conduit running through, he couldn’t punch a hole in the wall without frying himself in the process.

He pulled himself to his feet, knowing that Tashi was depending on him. Their children, Faso said she carried twins, were going to suffer his fate as well unless he got them and his love one to safety. He had three days to find a means to escape before he was taken to the arena... and his doom. He knew that he had to stage a rescue with everything at stake and nothing to work with.

His Echani fiber armour was all he had, but it only provided protection, not a means of escape. He strapped it on and put himself in the mindset that he was a gladiator already in the arena... Faso was right when he said Genda was going to end his career with the greatest battle he’s ever fought. The stakes were higher than ever before and his arena was Sleheyron. All the rules that he was accustomed to were thrown out the window...

He raised his head to check the windows and discovered they weren’t locked, but he was roughly ten floors up. There was nothing he could possibly scrounge within the quarters that could serve as a makeshift rope for such a length as that. At least he knew he had a means of escape, which gave him some assurance that he wouldn‘t die in the arena as Faso intended.

Genda went through his quarters and took everything he thought he needed to stage a rescue. He pocketed a small medkit, a knife, rations, a flashlight, a cloak that belonged to Tashi, and anything else that could serve a purpose as a tool or weapon. When he opened the window and looked out, he saw a potential escape, but suddenly came to realize that he had made very few preparations and was rushing when he had time to assess the situation.

Three days was a long time... he had no reason to start out on the first day. He needed to be well-rested before he began because once he departed, he wouldn’t stop until she was safe, or died saving her. For the first time he could remember, he was not afraid to die. He was more afraid that Tashi would be reduced to serving Faso for the rest of her life after having her children taken away so soon after their father’s death.

Father. Genda thought very little about having children of his own. Tashi advised him to only look to the moment, but he felt that it was important for him to really grasp the reason he put himself in harm’s way. He might have finally found his best chance to escape Sleheyron forever, but there was no way he would leave Tashi behind. Faso’s palace was, without doubt, where he had Genda’s loved one, but that place was a fortress. He might have been able to sneak out of the apartment without stirring attention, but he would’ve had to penetrate the Hutt’s stronghold and leave with a valuable asset who was locked away in a maximum-security vault. It was probably more suicidal than the challenge that Faso had awaiting him in the arena, but nothing awaited him there... only in Faso’s palace.

He knew that Faso already had Tashi laying by his bedside and that she was likely being abused at that very moment, but Genda knew the best thing for both of them was rest. It would have seemed the wrong thing to do, but he knew that it was better to leave her at the mercy of that monster for one or two days than to rush into a bad situation ill-prepared. He knew that if he failed, she would have had to endure a lifetime of that.

-----

(One year ago)

“Tell me a bit about yourself.” He asked the attractive lady in chains.

Tashi was one among a few dozen slavegirls on display. Genda was becoming a famous gladiator and his master just told him that he could have any woman that he wanted (within a reasonable price range) Tashi was especially expensive, but Genda really wanted that tall, pretty, redheaded lady standing in front of him. “I’m nothing special. I can cook, clean, but I can’t dance... no matter how hard I tried to learn.”

Uva Mosk was right behind Genda and interrupted. “This one is too expensive. You don’t need a skilled servant, let alone one that can’t even dance. You could get one that serves all your desires at half her price.”

She added another skill that she hadn’t mentioned just then. “I assume you’re looking for a loyal companion... I once served that sole purpose. I can do so again if that is what you want.”

Uva Mosk lashed at Tashi and slapped her across the face. “Shut up, slave! You weren’t being addressed!”

Genda went to her and rubbed the side of her face. “That was mean. You didn’t deserve that.”

“No, I’d spoken out of term. I do have that problem. I’m sorry.”

He smiled at her. “There’s nothing to be sorry for. I wanted to know about you and you answered.”

Uva Mosk disrupted them again. “You may not have this slave. The Great Faso has extended a generous offer to you and the least you can do in return is exercise some humility.”

Genda turned around to face Mosk. “Considering what I earn for my master, I think that he’s more interested in making me happy than in saving a few thousand credits. What he spends on me, I’ll give back a hundred fold in the arena.”

He stared at Genda and at the slave he was interested in. “I would need to consult with the Great Faso. If I do, he may reject his offer completely. I would suggest you at least... look at all the other slaves first. You may find one that doesn’t cost so much as this one.”

“Please contact him now. I would like to know if the master is more interested in satisfying me, or being thrifty.”

Mosk looked at Tashi, irritated. “I’ll see what I can do.” he said before going to a nearby communications console.

Tashi raised her hand. “Permission to speak.”

He smiled. “Go ahead.”

“What’s going on? Are you also a slave?”

“I’m a gladiator, yes. And my master has offered to give me a personal servant to make my life easier... so that I would earn him even more credits when I fight.”

“You shouldn’t try to bargain with a Hutt. Please forget me, I’m not worth the risk. I assume you’re interested in... a pleasure slave. You could get two pretty girls who can even dance and are much younger than I am.” She gestured to Mosk. “Stop him. Tell him you’ve reconsidered.”

He stared at Tashi, appreciating her concern. “I think my master would give me ten servants if he thought they would make more difference than just one. I make him rich and he would not risk upsetting me over a few thousand credits.”

“Why for me?” She asked.

He shrugged his shoulders. “I may actually want two, but I’m not really seeking a pleasure slave. I want... a companion, a friend, not a servant.”

She shook her head. “It doesn’t work like that. A servant’s obligated to fulfill the wishes of her master. That and if you intend to be intimate with her...”

“What if she had the freedom to choose what she wanted? What if I gave her that?”

She cocked her head to one side. “I wouldn’t know.”

Uva Mosk had logged off the console and came back to Genda and Tashi. “The Great Faso says that if you must have this one, you will have to earn that much more for him.”

He smiled at her. “I’ll get back to you.”

“Wait... you’re not interested?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I might like having two... a blonde and brunette. You put the idea in my head.”

-----

In short order, Genda chose Tashi.

Despite what she expected, Genda had not given his new slave the liberty he implied the first time they spoke. Tashi had been looking forward to serving a master who intended to treat her like an equal, but Genda did not give that to her right away. He liked having the power to make her do anything he asked, but when he was told that she had been pregnant and terminated it, he realized that he had her obedience, but that she intensely disliked being exploited in ways as he had been doing.

After nearly two months of being treated as his slave, Genda made it explicit to Tashi that she had the right to her own body and that he would not force anything more upon her. She was still bitter that she had been treated as a sex slave for two months and secluded herself from him as much as possible, only doing the services that were required of her.

As Genda worked to earn her trust again, she slowly opened herself to him on a personal level. They often had consensual sex, but it was always Genda who asked... not commanded. She always conceded when he asked because she had her own urges. They never did it for reasons other than to give in to their animal instincts. Tashi found it especially strange to share the experience with a teenager as Genda was only a kid compared to her.

Her advanced age did give her an edge as he often went to her for guidance. They were a very strange pair, but despite their differences, the two came to love each other deeply.

------

As he slept, Genda experienced a terrible nightmare that involved Tashi being in terrible pain. Unknown to him, he felt her pain through the Force. He had been awoken by the shattering of the light fixture over his head. Shards of glass rained down upon him, but nothing dangerous enough that he couldn’t cover his head with his arm. Nothing pierced the skin, but he was horrified at the thought Tashi was suffering. That dream just seemed so real.

As real the thought may have seemed, Genda didn’t believe Faso would have hurt her while still carrying their children. That might have changed after she gave birth, but until then, she was not in harm’s way.

The light fixture shattering didn’t help matters either. That just seemed too great to be a coincidence. Genda checked his wrist to find a shard of glass had dug into his flesh, but his attention was more on the cut left by the cuffs he had broken before being gunned down by Faso’s guards.

The wound left behind almost seemed as if the metal had been stretched before his hand slipped out of the restraint. The U-shaped cut almost seemed as though he applied more force on the restraints than they could endure. Only he knew that it was impossible for flesh to twist metal in such a way.

He stood up and went to the window... to hell with biding time. His loved one was in danger and he had to free her. A rush of energy channeled through him that he felt whenever he was in the heat of battle. He was going to need all the strength he could summon for the task ahead of him.

He slid the window open and looked down to the floor almost ten floors down. It was dark, so he had a chance of escaping without being seen. He stood upon the narrow ledge that was under each windowsill across the building and realized he could not possibly jump down from one ledge to the one below. Instead, he jumped up and grabbed onto the ledge under the window of the floor above him.

As he hung there 10 floors up, he extended his left arm to the window while he held himself with the other. Had the window been locked, he had no chance of returning to his room by dropping, so he was relieved beyond joy when he took hold of the opposite side and pulled himself up and back into the building.

That one act seemed exhausting, but he had no time to linger. He was in some vacant quarters, but the door opened when he touched the door control panel. He looked into the hallway and saw that it was vacant, but knew much of the building had guards stationed. He ran down to the emergency stairway and sprinted down almost as fast as an elevator would have taken, but without the security. Lesson of battle #4: Never let your enemy know where you are.

When Genda got to the first floor, he nearly ran through, but stopped when he realized there might have been a more conspicuous exit from a sub level entrance, so he went below the lobby and soon found his means of escape through the building’s garbage chute primary receptacle. It was just wide enough to stuff a body through, but Genda managed to get out, but had to slip out of his armour to squeeze through. Once on the other side, he was a mess, but brushed off the much and strapped the armour back on as he set out for Faso’s palace.

-----

Sleheyron was a volcanic planet, but the urban areas were completely free of the ash and flowing lava that otherwise would have been unworkable. Entire cities were held up by support brackets designed to shift and give way as the terrain underneath deformed though tectonic activity.

Faso’s palace was about 10 km away, but it was on a separate ‘island’ than the gladiatorial arena. The only link between them was a suspended monorail that Genda could not pay to board, nor did he want to be seen. Almost everyone on Sleheyron knew his face, so he could not afford to be discovered before he was inside the palace and had the woman he loved.

Suddenly, Genda realized that even if he rescued Tashi, they had nowhere to take refuge and he no way to blend in with the populace. He was able to hide under the cloak he included in his inventory, but it was clearly not a male’s article of clothing. He could pass off for a woman to only a very limited degree. His Echani armour was too apparent, but he couldn’t hide it with anything other than one of Tashi’s dress cloaks. He felt a bit silly wearing it, but had to follow Lesson of battle #1: In war there is nothing more important than victory. Embarrassment and modesty had no place in war when much more was at stake.

Genda had to figure out a way to bypass security on one of the trains, or even go across the monorail bridge on foot. That second option was very plausible, but it would have been very hazardous. The bridge was about four kilometers long and the track was not meant to be walked across, but it could be done.

Upon reaching the station on his side of the bridge, Genda saw there was no means to stow away aboard a train, so he had to make the treacherous journey that no one with an gram of sense would attempt. There was almost no security along the tracks because the bridge was too inhospitable to pedestrians to be needed.

The bridge itself was suspended over a great chasm of liquid lava, so he might not have been able to endure the scorching heat for the time he needed to reach the opposite side. There were two sets of maglev tracks, each about two meters wide and easy enough to walk on. The greatest threat was the passage of trains going to and fro. Each time a train crossed, he had to jump to the opposite track.

The worse-case scenario was two oncoming trains meeting on the bridge. The only means to survive that would have depended on knowing the length of the trains and finding the point where the opposite side’s front car clears the aft car of the other side’s train. The length of the average train was over a hundred and fifty meters, so that was the size of the target to avoid. At first, it seemed like a huge margin for error compared to the four kilometer length, but when two oncoming objects approach, one naturally would run away from the train behind... not knowing that he is at the far end of the dead-man’s target and running deeper into the area he wants to avoid.

----

For nearly ten minutes, Genda stood at the edge of the bridge, studying the trains’ speed, deceleration, frequency, as well as building the courage he needed to start the dangerous journey. For roughly fifteen minutes, he would have had to watch as trains from opposite sides came towards him at up to 100 km/h as well as the acceleration and deceleration that came at both ends, making the dead-man’s target more difficult to predict. All the while, enduring the extreme heat from the lava below and the jumping all combined seemed easy enough, but was prone to mistakes. He knew that he was gambling with his life, but was soon at the edge of the bridge, waiting for the next train to pass.

He felt the extreme heat and estimated temperatures upward of 60 degrees celsius. He believed the journey was survivable, but would have pushed him to the limits of his endurance. Even a full-blooded Mandalorian would have been taxed, but Genda didn’t know if a normal human could have survived. He just focused his mind on the moment and knew that when he felt the gust of air from the train that just passed... he ran onto the track that lead through the inferno.

------

As he sprinted, Genda was amazed at just how long a distance four kilometers was when one wasn’t sure of the outcome. In times of action, a second could seem like an eternity... Genda didn’t know how little distance he covered in only one minute, when a train on the opposite side went by. The bridge shifted significantly under the weight of the train and the gust of air it caused almost threw Genda off the track, but he retook his balance just in time to jump to the opposite track before another train came up behind.

The vehicles barely made any noise, so he took to the track with the oncoming train so he could at least see when to switch from one track to the opposite side. It was hard to know that he was running directly into the path of a machine that would crush him when the opposite side seemed more logical, but he couldn’t risk being run over from behind and had to keep his eyes forward.

The fear of two trains crossing at the same time was always present, but Genda simply couldn’t gauge how far away the vehicles were until they were within several hundred meters of him. The pattern was somewhat irritate as cargo trains moved in almost perfect intermittence, but passenger trains were much more random.

Genda could see three cargo trains in front of him, moving onto the right track, but he saw on oncoming train coming from the opposite side as well. It was the first time he had to determine where the two would intercept at the same place and he stopped running, realizing that he was in the dead-man’s target. A brief moment of panic took hold and he ran in the opposite direction as one train came at him from behind and the other passed on the right side. The moment he saw the last car go by, he leapt to the open track, just seconds before the pursuing train went by.

After a brief moment of relief, Genda got back and started sprinting back in the right direction. He was almost halfway through when he jumped to the opposite side again and realized that he was at the point where he had to start anticipating that the oncoming trains were accelerating while those coming up from behind were slowing down.

It didn’t seem like it would make a difference, but Genda’s observation made all the difference when two trains crossed at the same point again. Genda saw the train ahead was so close, but moving slower than the one behind in the distance. We sprinted as fast as he could and jumped to the opposite track just before he and the oncoming train met.

The gush of air threw off his jump and Genda overshot the track, just holding on by an arm. The temperature of the metal was scalding, but he extended his other arm and pulled himself back on, despite the nerves in his hands telling him to let go. He got his body back on the track, but struggled to get to his feet as the approaching train got closer by the second. He made a desperate jump to the opposite track and waited for it to pass before he started his final sprint.

He saw another train coming at him, but he was close enough to the end that he stayed on that track before jumping to the solid foundation of the opposite end of the bridge. He fell almost 10 meters, but he landed on solid ground. Genda wanted nothing more than to rest, but even then, he still had to escape the excruciating heat. Civilization was only a short distance away, but he reached it as he realized the march across the inferno bridge was complete.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:27 PM   #10
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Great chapter, and I hope that Genda maked it through this obstacle relatively unscathed. I also like how he gathered up what he could and made do with what he had--not something that I would entirely attribute to a Mando. Nice chap though!

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Old 01-04-2009, 12:09 AM   #11
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Okay, I'm sure people would say 'You've got too much time on your hands' however, I've got another chapter almost ready as of now. I'm just letting readers know that this is coming out in a cluster because I had much written in advance and decided to use a scene meant for another fiction. However, because it doesn't seem likely to happen, I'm putting it in this story and hope you enjoy it.

Although Genda is the main character, I decided that I will have a mix of original and about four of those from KOTOR. As the story goes on, more original characters will come on. I'm also going to push the timeframe of this story ahead about six years beyond TSL.

I won't spoil the next chapter, but I'll just say it will not be Genda going into the Palace, so don't expect that at the next update. Thanks for reading.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:38 AM   #12
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Chapter 4: Destiny

When Genda found a fountain in front of the train station, he dunked his head in the water. In doing so, he attracted much attention from the pedestrians. He knew that he couldn’t savor the water, so he swallowed a few mouthfuls and soaked his clothes to avoid heat exhaustion.

Upon taking refuge in an ally way, he removed the cloak and armour to cool down from that march through hell. His hands were blistered from the scorching metal he clung to, but he did not regret the pain as he should have fallen to his death. The medpack he had with him was insufficient to treat the blisters, but he at least had something to dull the pain.

He rested his back against a wall and let the wind current cool his skin. It did nothing for his internal bodily functions, but the coolness on his chest and face was one of the greatest sensations he’s ever felt. Just breathing cool air was a relief, but he felt better simply knowing that Faso’s palace was within striking distance and his presence was not revealed. Genda wasn’t armed, but he was in the perfect position to make a direct attack or perform a covert rescue. Although stealth was his greatest advantage, it was easily compromised. As soon as he had a chance to rest, Genda intended to sneak into the palace.

------
(Meanwhile: on Katarr)
------

Fog was a strange element of nature. It obscured light, yet it is did not eclipse the binary stars overhead. It was moist, yet one did not drown in it. Everything was shrouded, yet Alayna could see herself perfectly. She could also see the ground upon which she stood, but she could not feel the Force flowing through any of it.

Blinded to it for nearly a decade, Alayna had learned to see through her eyes again. Although she had always been able to, there came a time in every Jedi’s life when she could abandon their other senses and rely solely upon the Force. Although she never lost her sight, she had forgotten just how important it was until after the events at Malachor V left her with nothing else.

Although she had learned to sense it again, Alayna still suffered from the trauma of the decade following the Mandalorian Wars. When she needed support from the Jedi High Council, they banished her to exile. For the decade that followed, she was left only with the feeling of mediocrity, anger, and betrayal.

Although she knew such thoughts poisoned her soul, Alayna felt there was nothing left of herself after that. She did learn to live without the Force, but only because she had no other choice. Although she emerged stronger because of it, Alayna was still bitter that the High Council never admitted that they wronged her. She knew those were not thoughts worthy of a Jedi, but she could not forget that they attempted to deafen her a second time.

“You’re a cypher, forming bonds, leaching the life of others. Discerning their will and dominating them.” Those were the words Master Vrook used to describe the friendship Alayna had given to so many. She couldn’t understand how he came to such a conclusion... he didn’t even know those people he claimed were being controlled. And even if they were, it wasn’t like her influence really hurt anyone.

Those thoughts weighed heavily on her mind, but Alayna knew that whatever trauma she suffered did not compare to that of her friend’s. Ever since Darth Nihlious had left his mark on her planet, Visas Marr was left alone after everyone and everything she ever knew died around her. Since he had taken her for his own, she had been damned to a life of unceasing pain under his brutal heel.

Alayna watched as that world’s only survivor took her usual meditative stance upon a patch of ground not covered by duracrete. The remains of a once-great tree lay collapsed near where Visas was sitting. The area was surrounded by walkways and roads that no one had traveled upon since that fateful day.

Alayna wondered what the planet that Visas had known looked liked the last time she walked upon its surface. Although they did not have eyes to see, Miralukas could still appreciate a landscape through its touch on the Force, but as it was absent from the planet, Visas was truly blind to everything around her.

***

Alayna was unsure of the premonitions of her former master, DarthTraya... Kreia as she was called. They greatly concerned her because she did not know whether or not to trust them. Kreia lied to her from the first moment they met and may very well have lied at her end. And even if she hadn’t, it didn’t mean that any future was certain. Simply knowing what was going to transpire could have changed everything.

It had been years since Alayna and Traya shared that intimate moment in the heart of Malachor V. Before dying, Traya offered Alayna a glimpse into the future... and Alayna’s curiosity got the better of her.

In her premonition, Traya said Alayna was destined to follow Revan into the Outer Rim, leaving all those she loved behind to rebuild the Jedi Order. Alayna couldn’t explain how or why the premonition wasn’t just another lie, but she believed what the old woman told her.

Over the last few years, Alayna followed it with the expectation that she would find either Revan or evidence of any True Sith, but found nothing. As Kreia predicted, she left all she cared for behind... only Visas refused to be parted her company. Alayna honored her request and accepted the Miraluka’s company.

***

Although Alayna could not see much beyond the fog that surrounded them, she almost believed it was better that the Miraluka did not feel her surroundings. The sight of every dead tree and the skeletal remains of her people would have been a terrible way to remember her home world.

Alayna walked up to one of the skeletons and was surprised for a moment why it remained so remarkably intact. Bones didn’t lay like that in nature... then she remembered that there were no animals to disturb their remains. Only the forces of nature have disturbed anything.

The landscape around them was mostly obscured by the fog, but Alayna could hear the roar of falling water in the distance. Water was one of the life-giving attributes that were common on almost every habitable planet in the galaxy.

When another clearing in the fog revealed the city in front of her, Alayna was troubled at the sight of the once-magnificent buildings that didn’t lay in ruin. Although she had seen ruins of many cites, none were as perplexing as those around them. Unlike the remains of Dantooine, which had been overrun by vines and wildlife, there was no other life to take the place of the people who once inhabited those structures.

Even in its heyday, the city itself was unlike most. There were no windows, no artificial lighting, and the paint was only used to protect against the elements. The predominant color of everything was gray. The cites on Katarr were built with aesthetics being almost completely absent.

She had seen many that were reduced to huge piles of rubble through warfare... the only damage to that city was caused by wind and water erosion. Although those were weak destructive forces, they were enough to weather the duracrete and oxidize metal. Even various devices throughout still functioned on what little power was still generated by the aging power plants. Nothing other than the life was destroyed in that attack. Without even so much as bacteria present, nature could never recover from the damage that had been caused over a decade ago.

Alayna could not help but wonder if Korriban had suffered a similar fate as Katarr. That planet had all the characteristics of a habitable world right down to valleys that were carved by water. The only thing missing was the water which had carved those valleys. On Katarr, there were great cities and even fertile soil, but the life was completely absent.

As the fog around her began to clear, she saw Visas in the distance on her knees meditating as she often has. Although Alayna made an effort to not listen to the thoughts of her friends, there was often background noise within the force that masked them. There was no background noise because there was no force energy surrounding them. Visas’s thoughts were so clear that Alayna heard them perfectly whether she chose to or not.

“As I walk upon the ashes or Katarr, I shall not fear. For in fear lies death and remorse.

The wound in the force that has decimated Katarr has been healed. Although my journey has been long, it has purged my fear and defined my destiny. The one who had healed my wounds now seeks to heal a galaxy.

I ask for the strength I need to help her see that end. As my former master sought to leave all in darkness, my master... my friend seeks to bring harmony where chaos now dominates. I seek the means to stand with her through all she will face as she travels down her path.

If I should not see her destiny fulfilled, I ask that she not fall before I. My destiny is complete... Alayna’s will forever be in front of her. I ask only that she understand why I follow her and that she not place my life before the galaxy.”

Alayna was not comfortable knowing her friend believed she could heal the galaxy. She believed herself to be only a simple jedi who was given a responsibility she was not prepared for. Despite being known as the last jedi for weeks, never has Alayna felt the survival of the Order was as dire as it was then. She was afraid that she was not up to the task of restoring the Order, let alone stand up against another threat like the sith.

The Council had always been convinced there was another enemy in the Unknown Regions... Kreia had confirmed they were the ‘True Sith.’ She had remembered a time when she was without the Force... her life may have been simple, but her responsibilities didn’t extend beyond setting a given quota of work each day. She would never have imagined she would be standing where she was.

The planet around her was little more than a great void in the Force. Since the events that took place with Darth Nihlious, the planet had since been lifeless. Only Visas... for reasons not understood... was spared the fate of the rest of her people. Her loss was great, but the pain she suffered in the five years since have made her wonder if ‘spared’ was the proper word for her fate.

It wasn’t until she fought and was defeated by Alayna that Visas understood why she was. Alayna seemed to represent everything her former master was not. Where he represented the death of the Force, she saw hope for all life in the woman she had been ordered to kill. Visas could not bring harm to someone so great... instead, she swore her life was hers. Alayna did not like the gift she had been given, but she didn’t wish to insult Visas by leaving her with a sense of abandonment. Since then, the Miraluka obeyed her friend and master. Believing in what she stood for, Visas fought by, but more often in front of Alayna, through every battle they entered.

***

Although Alayna still had her eyes to see, Visas was truly blind to everything around her. Only the glimmer of force energy that illuminated the Ebon Hawk and the radiant energy from her master were all she had to guide her. Visas stood up from her meditative stance and walked towards the only beacon she could follow.

Alayna watched as Visas tripped over a rock that was in her path. It startled both of them. Jedi did not trip just like that. Even when thrown in ways that seemed impossible to land on their feet, their mastery of the Force allowed them to do just that. To see Visas fall like that was difficult to witness, but Alayna knew what it was like to be without the Force to guide her. She rush to and offered Visas her hand.

Normally, she was so self reliant that Visas would not only have returned to her feet, but even apologize to Alayna for her clumsiness. Instead, she accepted her hand without hesitation. Alayna could feel the fear that mounted within her friend. She realized that walking among the ruins of her people and inability to sense anything around was difficult, but Alayna felt that it was important for her to finally so do.

Despite being afraid, Visas maintained her calm demeanor and faced Alayna. “How did you learn to live in such... darkness? Feeling the ground beneath us with no touch of the Force... is this what it felt to be deafened to it?”

She nodded. “It was very much like this, but I did at least have my eyes to guide me. I would have been able to see that rock and not trip over it.”

“Would you please describe to me what it is that you see? What do your eyes show you?”

Alayna opened her mouth to answer her question, but then stopped as she realized she could not describe sight to one who has never known it. “I’m afraid I can’t explain it. I can’t explain it in a way that you could understand.”

“If you could not explain what you see, then why did you bring me here? This place is nothing more than a void in the Force.”

“This is your home world. Every time you meditate, you speak of the ashes of Katarr. This place is to you as Malacor was to me. Because you were there for me when I faced my past, I wanted to help you as you faced your own.”

The blind Jedi faced Alayna as though she were trying to see the meaning behind those words. Visas knew that Alayna had a hidden motive, but never believed she had to ask why her master took certain measures. Despite what Alayna thought or said, she always seemed to do the right thing in the end. But Visas could not see the logic behind why she was taken to Katarr. She asked a very basic, but significant question: “Why did you bring me here? Why did you squander your time for me?”

Alayna was upset that despite all she has shown Visas, she was so selfless as to believe her feelings were irrelevant. That was to be expected from one who was forced to live for another, but Alayna hoped that she could begin to heal from the psychological scars inflicted by her old master. She held the only survivor by the shoulders and tried to reach her again. “Visas... if coming here gives you any peace, then it’s worth it.“

“The others needed you more than I ever did. You should have been there for them... I could have waited.”

She shook her head. “You have pledged yourself to me. You always tell me your life is mine to do with as I choose. What if I chose to give that life back to you? What if I didn’t want to posses another’s life?” She embraced Visas. “You’ve been with me through so much. You protected me even when you didn’t agree with the reasons I put my life in danger. I wanted to show you that you mattered... that’s why I brought you here.”

Visas knew Alayna was not telling her the whole truth, but she never questioned her master’s intent. She also had never willingly gone against her master’s wishes. Visas had ignored her own desires, but because Alayna told Visas that her feelings mattered, she made them known. “Master... Alayna... I sensed that there was another reason for why you brought me here. It was not entirely for me, was it?”

Alayna was determined never to reveal the prophecy that Traya had spoken of on Malacor. She regretted hearing Traya’s prophecy because it lead her down a path she did not want to take. She had hoped to find some reason or proof for why she believed so deeply in the words of her future. But as weeks turned to months and months turned to years, the strength of Traya’s words had weakened. She had found no leads to these ‘True Sith,’ no signs of Revan, and nothing else to suggest that the prophecy could come true.

The hidden reason Alayna came to Katarr was to fulfill another part of the prophecy... “The blinded one would walk upon the ashes of Katarr and see what she was meant to see.” Since Visas didn’t appear to do that, Alayna believed she deserved to know the truth. And she believed no one else could keep a secret more safe than Visas.

She tilted her head, almost to display her guilt. “No. There was another reason, but I thought it was better that it remained unknown.”

“I’ll respect your wishes. You have not lead any of us astray before.”

Alayna turned her attention from Visas to the river that had revealed itself from behind the cover of the mist. She thought it was almost poetic that she finally saw the river that had been roaring in the distance.

It was different than she had imagined... the water was not flowing naturally, but through an artificial canal. The river likely had been channeled so that it would not disrupt the foundation of the city. Although it was effective, it looked artificial. Alayna appreciated nature, but didn’t like civilization manipulate it in such ways.

She sighed with a degree of dread, but realized that the best thing she could have done was define her own path and trust in herself and her friends. She couldn’t afford to allow a prophecy to dictate her fate like the canal dictated the course of that river. Although she believed she came to Katarr for Visas, Alayna soon understood that she strayed from her course by leaving her friends behind on Dantooine to rebuild the Order without her.

Despite wanting Visas to be her own person, she realized that she would not have brought her to Katarr had she had not heard Traya’s prophecy. She would not have left her friends behind had it not been for the prophecy. It became clear to her that she allowed the prophecy to control her fate... Alayna knew that she could no longer go through with it.

Alayna looked back from the river, which was again shrouded by the mist, and then faced her friend. “We can stay for as long as you wish. When you are ready, we should return to Dantooine.” Although she could easily have given an order, Alayna still extended the offer to show Visas that she was her friend and not her slave.

The Miraluka nodded in acknowledgment. “Then it would be prudent to leave. Your place is with your friends.”

As they turned around, Alayna suddenly realized that she heard someone through the Force... very faint, but he was there. Had she been on any other planet, the background Force noise would have eclipsed it. What she felt was someone’s pain, but it came from a great distance.

Visas turned around to the seemingly mesmerized Alayna. “What is it?”

She held her arm up. “Listen.”

Visas tried, but the radiant Force energy projecting off Alayna didn’t allow for anything that faint to be heard, even by a very skilled Force-user. “To what?”

“I sense... pain. Someone’s in terrible pain.” Alayna got into a meditative stance and focused all her attention to the sound she knew was intense, but coming from a great distance. Visas knew enough to remain silent, but she was very curious about why her friend became so anxious all of a sudden. Alayna had felt other’s pain before, but something was particularly important about the one who she was listening for.

After almost a minute, Alayna went from utter concentration to giving a direct command. “To the Ebon Hawk, now!” She jumped to her feet and sprinted to the Ebon Hawk, leaving Visas behind. The Miraluka followed without question, but had stumbled and tripped, hitting the ground much more painfully than before.

Alayna, realizing that she had left her friend behind, came to a brisk stop and rushed back for the blind Miraluka. By the time she had picked herself up, Alayna had gotten beside her and put her hand on her shoulder and held her by the hip. “I’m sorry. We must make haste. I’ll explain to you en route.”

What started Alayna so greatly was how the voice she heard seemed familiar, but was suddenly silenced. What she heard was enough to approximate his location, but pinpointing exactly what system he was in depended on getting closer to the source. Alayna knew she heard a desperate cry of distress and wanted to be underway as soon as possible. What she heard was like a flare that illuminated briefly in the distance of a pitch black night. She wanted to follow that flare before it went out, but she wouldn’t leave Visas behind to do so.

-----

What Alayna felt in that moment was Genda’s agony when Faso tormented him with Tashi’s fate. His anger was so strong that it allowed him to tap into his latent Force power. Upon boarding the Ebon Hawk, the pair of Jedi went in search of him. Alayna didn’t know where he was, but each time he exercised his Force abilities, she honed in on him. She knew he was in distress and hoped to reach him in time.

------
Sleheyron
------

Genda remembered the first time he was taken to Faso’s palace so shortly after the destruction of Telos. After thirteen years of a normal life, with all its freedom and opportunities suddenly deprived, the transition to slavery was especially difficult for him. It was not simply learning the ways of a new life, but forgetting those of the old one.

Genda often said he had been a gladiator for five years, but in truth, it was only how long he had been a slave. Over the course of his first year, Genda served as a laborer in one of Faso’s factories; not even Genda knew of his Mandalorian heritage. It wasn’t until an injury led to an examination by a physician. Upon the discovery, Genda soon found himself under the intense training that only the best gladiators received... few Mandalorians allowed themselves to be taken prisoner. Even a half Mandalorian had great potential compared to many of the beings unfortunate enough to find themselves in the possession of a Hutt.

Genda received training in a vast number of fighting styles, strategy, and physical fitness. Over his four years of training/fighting, he had mastered so many style of fighting that he could had only been able to anticipate his opponents’ actions, but was almost impossible to predict.

As he rested, he had been going over the upcoming battle in his head, wondering what challenges he would have to face if he tried sneaking into the palace. Maybe a diversion on the opposite side of the fortress would distract the guards while he went in from the other side? Perhaps he could take on all the guards in a frontal assault if he triggered the security traps?

All those plans had their flaws, but he knew the greatest flaw of it all was that he hadn’t even gotten inside the palace. He didn’t even know what he was up against, but he was still going over possible strategies in his head... assessing what he had to beat and what he had to work with.

Without any weapons or explosives, he had to make room in his battle plan to at least procure a ranged-weapon. He didn’t have any money to buy what he needed, so he knew he had to steal. The other option was to engage an armed guard with only a knife and take his weapon. That seemed the most likely plan to get him the best blaster and possibly some explosives, but it was the most likely one to alert security of his presence. Perhaps he should have checked the local residents to see if they had anything...

As Genda passed from a twilight state into a deep sleep, his thoughts seemed to meld with his dream as he went into REM sleep. He saw a battle going on that seemed to involve him, not from his eyes. He witnessed himself pinned in a corner as heavy droid was firing from around a corner. The droid was too heavily armoured for his assault rifle to penetrate and its targeting systems had already beaten through his personal shield. As it went around the corner, Genda knew that one of the soldiers across the room had an ion grenade on his belt. He knew that there was no way to reach it, but he extended his arm out and pulled the grenade off the dead body from across the room and it rolled the rest of the way towards him.

Despite dreams not always being believable to the one dreaming it, Genda’s mind allowed the delusion to go on for as long as things made sense. The sight of that lifesaving weapon doing what he willed it... it pushed all reason past the point that it tripped his mind and forced him to wake up.

He gasped and was further startled at the clattering of junk all around him. This time, he knew that it happened because he saw the movement of the garbage and the disturbance of dust as the lose piles of junk settled after being displaced. He knew that it all had just been dropped, knocked over, and scattered... all of it!

He grasped his head and backed against the wall. “No! It can’t be...” He breathed heavily for a moment. In great fear, he whispered to himself, “What’s happening to me?”

Genda was terrified that he was losing his mind. He just couldn’t believe that he did any of it... breaking through the metal restraining cuffs, the light fixture, the junk around... none of it made sense. At the same time, he was just so worried about Tashi... he knew he had to rescue her before he went completely insane. He grabbed his armour and set out for Faso’s palace to end it once and for all.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:17 PM   #13
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This is pretty powerful stuff Yuthura...I think you do an excellent job with description and with conveying your characters feelings and I really feel like I can visualize the events as you lay them out.

I'm pretty far behind on reading things here and even further on writing my own current fic, but I'll try to keep an eye on this one as it develops


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

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Old 01-07-2009, 09:05 PM   #14
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The story is starting to take place. I just hope that Visas and Alayna, who is the Exile (?), arrive in time. Great description, and visualization, as always.

I have never thought of a Mandolorian Jedi....interesting to see how all of this plays out. Keep it up DY!

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Old 01-08-2009, 04:44 AM   #15
Darth_Yuthura
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I don't think that the Mandalorians are Force sensitive, but there is something about Genda that makes him unique. Not to spoil anything, but you'll discover the reason in chapter 6.

I actually only inserted this last chapter at this point to establish some of the Exile's backstory, but not to ruin the suspense of the chapter before it. Genda is going in alone, but Alayna's (Exile's) sudden appearance would not make any sense. I would have liked Genda to tap into the Force to a greater extent, but needed a way for him off Sleheyron and realized I had this last chapter already written and wanted to publish it somewhere.

Unlike some of my other stories, I had a plot in mind before I even started this. The others had the plot develop as I went on, but this is going to focus on Tashi and Genda while showing what happened after TSL. This won't follow timelines to the letter and will likely be filled with many more original characters... isn't that the point of a sequel to use as few returning characters as you can?
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:20 PM   #16
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'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:46 PM   #17
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Chapter 5: The Battle

Maybe not my best action sequence, but I hope it suffices. The next chapter was originally part of this, but I think it made this a bit too long. I also wanted to leave off on a positive/unknown cliffhanger, but may have given it away. Anyway, this is where I could use the most feedbacks because these aren't my forte.

------

As Genda finally gazed upon the Faso’s palace, he felt a chill down his spine. He had felt the same sensation almost every time he entered the arena, knowing that he was going to be fighting for his life very shortly. Every time, he wanted nothing more than to be somewhere else, but his escorts always ensured he was in position when the killing games began.

It was strange that the first time he had the option to walk away was the first time he went in willingly. It was early in the morning with broad daylight making a sneak attack impossible. Having lived within the palace once, Genda learned that the security systems were far from foolproof... the traps were the major obstacle. Faso’s philosophy was that there was no need to have the most elaborate security sensors in the galaxy because anyone or anything that could get by sensors wouldn’t have the means to steal anything of value without being caught. Anyone or anything that did would’ve had to get around automated weapon emplacements, being caught behind force fields, and other dangers that weren’t public knowledge.

Few ventured into a Hutt’s palace as they had a reputation for being the safest places in the Galaxy outside of a military installation. Most were built to withstand a bombardment by a starship, but only for the sake of gloating to the rest of the Galaxy that they had it. Although Faso could have afforded it, he didn’t want to deal with installing a defensive measure worth as much as the palace itself that inevitably served no purpose. Anyone with the credits to build a heavy cruiser wouldn’t have been foolish enough to attack a Hutt.

It was strange that for all their selfishness and lack of morality, there was such a thing as honor among the Hutts. Faso knew that he didn’t need a shield and didn’t squander the credits on the defense that would have kept any intruder from entering.

As Genda made his way into a maintenance tunnel that ran underground, he wondered what he would have done had there been a shield around Faso’s palace. Although they had huge energy demands, most city-scale shield grids were operated constantly at about 1% of total capacity, which would have been enough to incinerate anyone foolish enough to try and get through. The design would have even had the access tunnels and sewers sealed off.

Then he shook the thought out of his head. All that mattered was that there were holes in Faso’s security and he went through one to infiltrate the fortress.

-----

There were a series of power conduits running from a city power plant to Faso’s palace. He knew that the utilities had their own security systems, so even if he tripped an alarm when he broke in through an access checkpoint, it would have been local... not Faso’s forces that would have apprehended him.

He knew it was a gamble, but the access tunnel running along the main power conduit seemed the best way in. The most significant drawback was that if Faso’s security and the local forces worked hand-in-hand, he already sacrificed the element of surprise. For the time he was moving through the tunnel, he assumed that his presence was still unknown and he kept crawling through. Shortly before he reached the juncture under the palace, he heard a hatch open in front and saw a light in the distance. Genda had only a flashlight to guide him through an otherwise pitch-black tunnel, seeing light up ahead filled him with terror.

He flipped his light off, but knew that he had been discovered. Few ever ventured through that dark passage; the only reason anyone ahead would have come down was if there were a power failure or an intruder. The latter seemed more likely.

In the distance, he heard one of the guards/technicians. “I’m sick of these glitches. These sensors react when the ground shifts even a little. Whoever put motion sensors in these access ways should be shot.”

Another one was with him. “These conduits are the lifeblood of this planet. If we just leave them unguarded, one frag grenade could bring down an entire city module.”

“Yeah, yeah, but we get so many false alarms because the terrain is so unstable, if the ground moves one millimeter, the alarms start blazing.”

Genda got a degree of relief at hearing they weren’t expecting an intruder.

The guards kept talking. “Why do they have to be so sensitive?”

“They think any saboteur wouldn’t be dumb enough to come down here without a stealth field generator. And they’re too cheap to have IR cameras. So here they are paying to have us comb through every time something goes off.”

“Fine by me; easy money if you ask me.”

“No, it’d be betting on Genda and sitting back, watching the credits pour in.”

“Yeah, did you hear about that special event coming up?”

“What of it?”

“I heard Faso say that Genda was going to be the first gladiator to win his freedom. This was supposed to be his grand finale.”

“That’s good to hear. No one’s going to beat him and I don’t want to know if he could kill two rancors at once... it’s scary to know he killed even one.”

Genda suddenly realized that his name and face carried a level of respect that might have weighed in his favor at that time. He was recognized throughout Sleheyron and might have been allowed to pass if he asked it. He had nowhere to find cover, but might have been able to turn back. Retreat was the most logical course of action, but he would not have had another chance to go through the tunnel again... he had broken in through an access checkpoint and would not have been believed to just be a ‘glitch in security.’ He decided his best chance was to confront the men. When he was within the range of their flashlights, he stood right where he was and didn’t move.

“Intruder!” He pulled a gun and aimed it at Genda. “Don’t move! Hands where I can see them!”

He did as he was told and stepped towards them. “Hold your fire. I’m not here to fight.” The guard behind pulled a comlink, but Genda desperately asked “Please... that’s not required. I need your help.”

The guard in front saw his face and armour, confirming his identity. “Wait, you can’t... Genda? What are you doing here?”

“It’s a long story, but I don’t have time to explain. Please... let me through.”

The other guard addressed him. “Hold on, you’re not supposed to be here. If you’re trying to escape...”

“I need to get in. Please let me through and don’t alert anyone.” He pleaded.

The guard in front didn’t move aside, but lowered the gun slightly to one side. “Wait, this doesn’t make sense. You’re supposed to be at the arena, not here.” He gestured to the other guard. “Please come with us. We’ll sort this out.”

“No! You can’t alert anyone!”

He glanced at his partner. “What do we do?”

“If he’s escaped, we could take him back for a reward.”

“Or better... take him and hold him for ransom. With that, we would be set for life.”

The first guard smiled. “Yes. Please come with us. Faso would pay a lot to get you back. After that, you can still win your freedom. There’s no need to resist...”

“No! If you don’t drop your weapons now, I will kill you both!” He moved his face within centimeters of the front guard’s. “Do you think you’d stand a chance against me?”

The second guard answered to that. “He’s just trying to scare us. If we let him go, Faso will have our heads on a plate... or we can sell him off for a fortune.”

The first guard nodded. “I’m sorry Genda, but I have a family to take care of. Turn around...”

Genda turned around, but not to surrender. He had his flashlight in one hand and he turned around completely to knock away the gun of the first guard. That guard was the only one holding a flashlight in his left hand and Genda’s move knocked it out of his hand. At the same time, Genda’s own flashlight blinded the second guard as the beam of light passed in front of his eyes.

Both guards still had their guns in hand, but Genda dealt with the closest one first, despite the second shooting blindly. Genda held the closest guard’s arm with one hand to keep the gun away and used his other to move him into the line of fire of the second guard’s shots. Genda dropped his flashlight and the dead body as he allowed himself to fall to the floor and out of the line of fire.

The second guard tried to back away, but Genda had extended his arm to grab the guard’s left leg, causing him to land on his back. When he heard the clattering of the blaster against the floor, Genda felt around in the darkness for his unarmed foe. Knowing he was going to search for the gun, Genda landed on top and as he struggled, the guard twisted Genda onto his back, but was pulled back as well. Attempting to break away, Genda had wrapped his left arm around his opponent’s neck and the struggling gave Genda extra leverage he needed to break the neck bones.

When the body hit the floor, Genda laid in the darkness for a long moment before sitting up and seeing the two flashlights less than 10 meters away. He pocketed the more compact light and used the one dropped by the first guard to locate the blaster pistols. On one of the bodies, he found what appeared to be a security device, each had a comlink, and a few other items that he didn’t need. He took the comlinks, but only to silence/answer them if someone attempted to call a pair of corpses.

The confrontation left him a bit demoralized at how quickly those two were willing to sell him out. He assumed he wouldn’t care what the general public thought of him, but it became clear that he didn’t scare people as significantly as he once believed. He had taken that into consideration when he faced off against opponents in the arena, but it didn’t apply to the outside. As much as he wanted to, Genda didn’t have time to understand why that was... only that those two weren’t afraid of him.

----

Upon reaching the hatch, which was left unlocked, Genda dropped the guard’s flashlight and pulled out one of the pistols in a ready stance. He didn’t have a holster for the second and didn’t expect to use both at once, but he strapped it somewhere on his back, knowing it would be cumbersome. He would’ve preferred to just throw it away and take only the power pack, but knew that a warrior kept everything he could carry and only discarded what became a liability.

Genda found himself in what appeared to be a utility room... drab, dusty, and with tools and other clutter scattered about. It was a massive space, but filled with heavy machinery, most likely because it was the palace’s link to the power grid. Nearby was a control panel which appeared to regulate the distribution of power throughout the compound. The flow of energy generated an almost soothing hum, but in the background was a corsage of other noises, both loud and with infrequent intervals.

Upon hearing a hatch open, he sprinted to cover, but wanted to know where the noise came from. As he moved from behind one machine to the next, he soon came across another set of control panels, these had a protocol droid operator. Genda thought it might have been a good opportunity to figure out where Tashi was or if there were a machine in that room to control the security or communications systems. He didn’t expect the droid to be forthcoming, but it might have been programed to obey anyone needing help.

Just in case, Genda waited for the droid to move from one station to another so it couldn’t hit an alarm in an instant. Then he moved into its sight, with no gun in hand. “Droid!”

It turned to face him. “I am UH-234. Are you permitted to be in this area?”

He was not much more lies, but he thought of a great one that might have given him what he needed. “I’m sorry, ‘must have wandered in by accident. I’m looking for someone; could you help me find her?”

“My programing does not extend beyond managing the palace’s power, communications, cargo, and sanitation systems. I cannot answer your question. If you would please wait, I will have a security detail report here.”

Genda stepped in front of the droid. “Thank-you, but that won’t be necessary.”

“You are not permitted to be in a restricted area such as this. The Master is very stringent about guests wandering into locations they are not authorized to be. Once they arrive, they should be able to help you locate the person in question.” The droid went around Genda to access the control panel again. He was ready to pull out his blaster and destroy the droid, but decided to allow it to go about and access the security functions up to a point before it could call for the detail. Once it brought up a screen listed with various functions, Genda reached behind the droid’s head and deactivated it.

He pushed the droid aside and it fell on its back, but Genda didn’t give much concern for the machine. It would have been less suspicious to find a droid that had been turned off then one with a blaster hole in its head. He looked at the menu of options that the droid was so kind as to bring up and tried to determine what would have been the most useful. He needed to find where Tashi was being kept and be able to provide an escape.

Despite his high hopes, that control panel was not the ‘master security station.’ All he could do was get access to certain functions. When he found the array of cameras that could be accessed, he checked Faso’s throne room first: no one was present. He was glad not to see her chained up next to him, but it meant not having to go into a maximum security area. After that, he checked the security cells, maximum-security vaults, slave quarters... there was no sign of her.

Another function he checked was a log of actions taken by security forces throughout the palace starting with the most recent actions and listing back chronologically. Genda went back two days ago and at about the time when Tashi had been apprehended. There was a system of organization that included the time indexes, what personnel were involved, security status level, and anything else that may have been important to report.

He found the first record that had to be for her... Slave FH13945659 moved and secured in Royal Bedchamber. Security priority: maximum

Another record... Slave FH13945659 transferred from Royal Bedchamber and secured in security cell M4. Security priority: maximum

An hour later... Slave FH13945659 transferred from security cell M4 to surgical suite. Security priority: maximum

Genda scrolled through the logs and was perplexed that there seemingly were no records after that. There should have been some kind of record that indicated where she was after that point. He went back through the logs and tried another kind of search and got a list that was much narrower than the first and discovered that the was were indeed a record that showed where Tashi was at that moment...

About three hours after that last log: Slave FH13945659 transferred from primary infirmary to medical ward, room 2. Security priority: low

Genda was suddenly filled with terror at what he saw. ‘Low?’ That could have only meant something must have been done to disable her... a lobotomy or something. Suddenly, patience was a difficult thing for him to grasp. Before, he was under the belief that nothing was going to happen to his loved one so long as she carried those children, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t have ‘hurt’ her.

He took one last look at the options he had from that console. He knew where to find her, but after that, they needed an escape route. He tried to access a diagnostic of all the security traps and where they were placed, but that was restricted data. He was about to turn away when he realized that one of those guards carried a security device that might have been helpful if he could determine its function. There was an access terminal that appeared to belong to that device and when he inserted it, he got authorization for ‘minimal’ access to the security systems. He had no means to disable traps, cameras, or locked doors, but he at least got access to the layout of the forces throughout the palace.

He sighed in relief when the floor plan had been laid out, but it quickly turned to despair as he came to realize that there were dozens of guards stationed throughout the palace as well as those not on duty; roughly 72 mobile units stood against him. That may not have seemed very many for a facility of its size, but if only a tenth of the guards engaged him at one time, a seven-to-one advantage would have overwhelmed him.

He checked the floor plan again and discovered an armory laid not too far from his present location. He had an idea, but it depended on having a remote explosive device. If he could take out the primary power distribution terminal within that room, it would disrupt their ability to organize their forces. That would reduce the chance of any large-scale fire fights, but it likely would have resulted in the access tunnel he came in being blocked off when the conduits overloaded. After considering all other options, he knew it was the only way to nullify their numerical advantage... and disable the traps.

-----

The armory was a few hallways down and passed in front of two security cameras. Genda believed that if he acted fast enough, he could take out the cameras with his blaster and collect the explosive charges before they discovered there was an intruder. He traded lightly and moved from one hallway to the next, following the floor plan he had just seen.

He had been aware there were guards patrolling the area, but he believed he could avoid them... he ran into a locked door that he couldn’t bypass and was forced to go around. When he backtracked, the sound of heavy footsteps made him take position around a corner and hold himself in a ready stance as two Gamorian guards came into sight. He quickly came about and drove a knife into the throat of one and fired a volley of shots to ensure the other went down before neither could sound an alarm.

As the bodies hit the ground and their dying squeals echoed throughout the area, Genda stood over the bodies and checked both directions in case there were more around. He also held his breath and listened for any commotion that may have come from the echoing of the blaster shots. That pistol he had was quite loud, but there was nothing else more effective that he could reach for. After a moment of listening, he only heard the sizzling of flesh from the second body that went down.

He checked to see if either of them carried a keycard or anything that could have gotten him past the locked door, but realized the lock required a retinal scan. He didn’t like what he was about to do, but the Gamorians were nearly twice his weight and too difficult to lift up to the scanner, so he took out the knife and extracted an eye from the higher-ranking guard. Because it was dead, there wasn’t as much blood as if its heart were beating, but he was used to having lots of it on his hands by then.

When he got to the scanner, he held the Gamorian eye in front and the door stated the identity confirmed and opened the door. Genda had taken a cloth off the Gamorian to wrap the eye in, but just preferred to throw it away. The area he entered had a security scanner clearly visible and he almost missed it, but by the time he pulled out his blaster, he heard it make an electronic beeping noise. He destroyed it, but if he had been discovered, he knew he had to act quickly.

The armory was the next door on his left and it wasn’t locked because the four other rooms in that area were protected by that door he just bypassed. As he stepped in, he saw a wide selection of assault rifles right in front of him... including the TR-159, the weapon of choice for its rapid fire. He grabbed that first along with three replacement power packs. Because he only had so many pockets he could fill, Genda got rid of everything else he had on him, keeping only the pistol as a backup weapon.

To the right, he found an assortment of grenades, mines, and other supplies, but he took only what explosives he needed to disable the power distribution network. He ignored the grenades as they were not worth the pocket space that another power pack or mine would have been. When he had as many explosive charges as he could carry in his pockets, he saw slings that were made to carry grenades; and then decided that if he could carry more... might as well. The more he had, the faster he would have wanted to get rid of them. He grabbed one and started stuffing frag grenades in the pockets as quickly as he could, but then realized that there were droids stationed throughout the palace as well. He made sure to include a few ion grenades.

Just as he flung the strap over his shoulder, the door outside opened and Genda went for the TR-159 on the table and dropped to the floor as an armed human guard came into view. Before he could react, Genda started shooting rapidly, putting more holes in the guard than he needed to. When the body fell, he got back to his feet and went for the source of the shouting that he knew were more guards.

One had activated a comlink: “Alert security! We have an intruder...”

Genda ran into the hallway and turned the corner, shooting in the direction of the voices. A total of three guards had fallen in the path of his shots, guns in hand, but not acting fast enough to take aim. Genda knew that he had been discovered, but they still haven’t sounded the general alarm. Before leaving, he grabbed an explosive charge from his pocket, set a 10 second timer, and threw it into the armory. Those were likely not the standard weapons carried by security, but what they used in emergencies and he didn’t want them to have the same advantages he did.

As he ran back to the power distribution room, he heard and felt the blast of the bomb he left behind. When he ran past an intersecting hall, two Gamorians armed only with vibro axes saw him and pursued, but he kept sprinting. Upon reached the power distribution room, he wanted to set the charges as fast as possible, but didn’t have a strap for his rifle, so he just dropped it and pulled the explosive out, setting their timers for 30 seconds while he ran. After placing one on the control panel, he set another timer while placing the second bomb at the base of the juncture near the hatch he entered. The third one was set for 25 seconds on a coolant circuit, and another opposite the second bomb was set for 20 seconds. Although he would rather have programed them all to explode at the same moment, there simply wasn’t enough time to do anything quicker than a countdown, so he set the timers as best he could.

Genda had one bomb left and struggled to pull it out of his pocket, but realized that he didn’t have to waste it. There was no chance the bombs he set wouldn’t to do the job, so he just ran for the door. Those Gamorians that had seen him a moment ago followed him in and saw the gun he just set down. Genda reached for the reserve pistol he didn’t discard and took aim as one of them had it, but didn’t have it ready to fire. Genda fired three shots at the first guard, but he couldn’t get the second as he stood behind the one in front.

Genda saw the rifle fly out of the front guard’s grip and decided that it was more important to get out of the room before the bombs went off than wait to take out the second guard... given that the first was dying, but still standing. He sprinted for the riffle and jumped to grab hold of it before performing a summersault to get back to his feet. The move allowed him to avoid the vibroax of the second guard while taking back the gun and not stopping.

Ignoring the guard, Genda was back on his feet running for the door and turned left to search for the medical ward. A few seconds later, he felt the massive blast of the charges, followed instantly by utter darkness. That moment of pitch black was proceeded by the activation of the emergency lighting, which were much dimmer than before. All security barriers were also shut down as were all traps.

That moment of relief was short-lived as he realized that the Gamorian he ignored had followed him and escaped the blast. Just a few meters away, the guard was running at full speed when Genda realized he depleted the power pack of the rifle. The TR-159’s biggest liability was going through power packs quickly and with fairly weak destructive capacity. He threw the rifle to the side as he moved back. With his both his hands reaching for the pistol behind his back, Genda took hold of the knife first and threw it just an instant before drawing the pistol with the other hand.

When the Gamorian landed on him, he lost the pistol before he could take the shot and feared he was dead, but saw the hilt of the knife protruding from the neck, blocking its windpipe. Genda pulled the guard off and realized that his he would not have been able to pull off that shot and that his instinctual reaction to throw the knife saved his life. He sighed in relief, but knew he had a long way yet to go. He replaced the power pack of the TR-159 and made his way through the hallways and corridors, not encountering as much resistance as he expected until he reached his destination.

In the medical area, there were patrols gathering and running down in the direction Genda didn’t want them to be... near Tashi. He took cover within a small room and fired a volley down the hallway at a group of guards who were running in the direction Genda wanted to go. There were about eight of them, but they were at a hall junction. When two of them went down, the rest collected around the best cover, which was around the corner. When he saw an opening in their intermittent firing pattern, Genda took out a grenade and threw it in their direction.

Because they were in a corner, Genda didn’t have to worry about overthrowing the explosive. When he heard it hit the wall, their shouting intensified for a brief moment before the explosion silenced a few of them. Genda knew he didn’t get them all, but he moved cautiously ahead with his finger on the trigger, anticipating that an enemy was going to check around the corner. Slowly, he got sight of dead bodies on the floor, but when he saw the shoulder of a corpse that he assumed was still alive, his shots echoed down the next hallway.

He heard more shouting and was startled by the return fire just skimming the wall in front of him. Then, as if by instinct, he stepped back instead of trying to fire another volley. The next thing he heard was the impact of a solid object against the wall nearby and knew it was a grenade. He went to the floor and covered himself as a huge plume of flame engulfed the air around him. His fiber armour protected his body against most it, but it singed his hair, the back of his hands, and the side of his face. Had he been standing, that plasma grenade would have killed him, but instead, he just released a painful shriek.

Genda heard the guards behind shouting in an alien language, but he was convinced that they intended to advance on him. Genda rolled on his back and grabbed his rifle again as he struggled to his feet. His hearing had been compromised, but he could still hear footsteps coming from beyond the wall. Because he could hear them, he knew they were too close and went around the corner to unleash another volley.

He had killed two out of the three guards that were still in front of him, but the third started shooting as he retreated. Genda couldn’t get a window of opportunity because the guy was firing so erratically and in no pattern. Then he realized that if that guard were so terrified, a grenade might have worked, so he took one and threw it backhanded in his direction. The last guard indeed cowered away and Genda pulled around the corner to take him out. The grenade wasn’t even live, but it did exactly what he wanted of it... and it could be used again.

-----

With a clear hallway, Genda ran to the medical ward and wanted nothing more than to go through the door to see her alive and well, but his experience taught him never to let his guard down. Upon pressing the control panel, he kept to one side... just in case there were guns pointed at the door. He knew that there were guards beyond, but didn’t want to risk using a grenade, so he performed the same trick again to determine whether there were foes on in the room.

Upon hearing the shouting, Genda pulled around the corner and took careful aim as targeted the four guards waiting for him. Because they were trying to avoid the ‘live’ grenade, he took them by surprise and shot two in the back, one in the leg, and one who got off a missed shot before being hit by Genda’s TR-159. The Wequee that was shot in the leg was the first one hit, but he was the last one killed. As he grasped his leg, Genda showed no mercy to the wounded guard, even when he begged it.

It was then that he heard the most beautiful voice coming from the far right side of the room. “Genda!” Tashi was restrained by the arms and ankles on a medical bed, but was very much alive. She wore only a black one-piece undergarment that hugged her body... he noticed that she seemed more slender than before, but it was because of the angle of the bed.

He ran over to her, dropping his rifle to hold Tashi in his arms. “My love...” he said quietly before sharing a kiss for almost a full minute.

When he broke the kiss, she was crying both in pain and utter bliss. “By the love of the galaxy, you’re alive.”

He embraced her, still in her restraints. “I could never leave you. You’re the greatest thing in my life. You’re safe now. That’s all that matters.”

Tashi looked at him with pain in her eyes, but didn’t say anything else.

Genda sensed something that disturbed her greatly, but he didn’t want to make her relive whatever horror she had gone through. He removed the restraints and helped her sit up. They stared at each other for a moment, but he pulled her into his arms and they held each other as though nothing else mattered. For another full minute, they wouldn’t release each other... their feelings were genuinely beyond words.

Suddenly, Genda had been brought back to the reality of their situation and when he heard noise outside, he moved her aside and reached for his gun. “We’re still in danger. Stay close to me... if we are in a fire fight, you find cover. Do not endanger yourself to help me.” He reached for the pistol and gave it to her. “Only if you have no other option. If you can run, run. Don’t...” He suddenly realized that she would have been in more danger with a weapon than without one. He sighed and took it back. “They’ll ignore you if they don’t consider you a threat. If I give you an opportunity to go on, you take it.”

“No. I would never...”

“That is an order!” He barked. As she nodded painfully, he remembered that he never wanted her to be treated as a slave again, yet that’s what he just did. He gently held her shoulders. “We will escape together. I don’t intend to sacrifice myself, but I must draw their fire. I need you to watch over yourself so I don’t have to. Will you please do that?”

More tears came to her eyes as she nodded.

When he heard activity in the hallway, Genda went to the door and armed a grenade. As he opened the door and tossed the explosive, he waved Tashi to come to him. When the explosion went off, he turned into the hall and pulled her to keep himself between her and the blaster shots. "Alright, let's go!"

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 01-20-2009 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:59 AM   #18
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You have a very interesting style of writing, in a very good way.

Keep it up


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Old 01-11-2009, 02:20 PM   #19
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Nice chapter DY, great suspense. I wonder what will ultimately happen in this story...though I already have an idea.

I look forward to more!

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Old 01-14-2009, 09:29 PM   #20
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Chapter 5A: The Escape

As Genda took the lead with Tashi close behind, the two made their way through to the front of the palace. They encountered a patrol, but Genda used himself as bait to lure them around and Tashi reluctantly went ahead... fearing that the blaster shots she heard were meant for him. When she heard his voice from around the corner he told her to wait, she smiled briefly to see him again, but was startled by his sharp gesture and direct command. “Come on, keep going!”

The last thing she wanted was to get in the way or slow them down because he risked everything for her. He also knew how to survive, but mistakes were deadly. She ran as fast as she could, but he soon pulled her by the arm. “I’m sorry” she said again.

“Don’t be sorry, I’m just emphasizing when something has to be done.”

“I trust you...”

“Not now!” He commanded. “We’ll worry about manners later.”

Again, she nodded and followed Genda as they found the main entrance. There were about two dozen guards and servents who had gathered to deal with something that must have been taking place in the cargo dock at the time of the blackout. A large vehicle loaded with spice had been heavily escorted by guards from another Hutt’s service. Both groups were arguing as the blackout seemed to disrupt the illegal trade.

Faso’s forces consisted of only 6 armed guards while the other Hutt’s group had 12. A few other servents were either waiting around or shouting at the other side. They believed the blackout was intentional so that Faso couldn’t commit to the electronic transfer of funds for the spice.

Genda knew that the entrance was not their only means of escape, but there were just as many guards coming up from behind. He thought that instead of trying to sneek by, he would open fire on the opposite side’s guards and try to make it look like an ambush by Faso. If he could take out only two or three guards in the opening seconds, the 2/1 advantage over Faso’s side would be much closer to a fair fight. He could reduce the numbers from 18 to as few as six or even less.

Genda held Tashi close to him. “Here’s our chance to escape. I can’t protect you against all these guards, so I’m going to create a diversion and I need you to sneak by. Once you’ve made it out safely, I will be close behind.” He replaced the power pack of his TR-159 and gave her the pistol again. “Just in case, but keep it hidden.”

Tashi gestured to her undergarment. “How? Slip it in between my breasts?”

He held his serious exression. “Don’t use it unless you have no other choice. It’s better that you drop it before a fire fight starts.” He nodded. “Wait for me to shout ‘come and get me’ before you make your way to the exit.” The two just stared at each other for a long moment before Genda kissed her and turned the corner.

In Faso’s hanger were two heavily armed-vehicles equipped with powerful blaster cannons and he knew that he had to take them out first. They weren’t active, but once the battle broke out, either side could have gone for those turret-mounted repeators. From behind a cargo canister, he threw his last two ion grenades, disabling either the weapons or the vehicle’s power generators. After the first EMP was unleashed, he ran across the room, firing wildly at a formation of guards standing near each other.

By the time the second grenade went off, the guards started aiming for each other. As he ran across the wall behind Faso’s forces, he had hit five from the opposition’s ranks and found cover behind another cargo container. He heard a lot of comotion from the negotiator who believed Genda was Faso’s guy and shouted out an order before being silenced. Ten seconds after the firefight started, the blaster shots began to die down. It was then that Genda shouted for Tashi to run.

When he got up from behind his cover, Genda got a glimpse of more guards belonging to Faso outside that he had not seen before... Tashi was moving in their direction. “No, Tashi! Go back! Fall back!”

She had already moved into sight of the remaining few guards and Genda had alerted them to her presence. She had heard him and froze when they started aiming for her. Instead of going back, she dropped the gun and kept running for the exit.

Genda came out from his cover and targeted those guards who began shooting at Tashi, leaving himself exposed to the two who were targeting him. To ensure he would eliminate the ones aiming for her, Genda took careful aim and did not think of protecting himself. Hit in the left arm and waist, he was wounded, but gave Tashi the opening she needed.

Despite saving her, he still had the guards outside to deal with. He knew that they were going to come back and eventually take out the remaining forces in the cargo dock, so he readied a grenade to throw when they were in throwing range. Suddenly, he heard both the screams of the men and the introduction of a rapid-fire weapon. More screams came from the direction of where Faso’s guards were coming as well as the sound of blaster bolts hitting energy shields.

When he turned the corner again, a droid was in his view... it must have been cloaked. He watched as the battle droid fired upon the group and the incoming shots seemed directed at both the droid and another target out of his view. When the last of Faso’s guards went down, Genda jumped down behind another cargo canister to get Tashi back into his line of sight.

Suddenly, he came to realize that everything around him was just like his dream/vision. He was pinned down by a droid exactly like before and there was even a body at the other side of the room with an ion grenade clearly visible. He knew that the droid was resistant to frag grenades, even if he had any left. His weapon was designed for rapid-fire, not cutting through thick armour. He was exactly where he was before.

However, there was something else that he barely remembered... he remembered hearing his name spoken by a female voice. “Genda?!” Tashi screamed in panic. As he heard that, much more of the vision came back to him than he originally remembered. Tashi was there... as was another droid that had turned its attention to her.

Suddenly, Genda knew that it was true... there was another droid that had been heavily damaged, but it was going for Tashi. Genda attempted to fire a volley at the droid, but he was hit by the other droid. The shot was stopped by his armour, but another direct shot would have been fatal. He wanted to take the shot, but his reflexes pulled him back behind the canister. Before he could try another, he saw the power cell had been drained. There was nothing me had that could stop that droid... the ion grenade across the room could have saved Tashi, but it was too far away. He extended his hand out, hoping beyond all hope that he could pull that grenade to his hand.

As every second slowed to what seemed like a lifetime, Genda focused all his thought and will to command the explosive to move. He felt the device... somehow and it was in his grip. The hold was weak, but Genda watched as the electromagnetic explosive slowly wriggled itself free of the belt it was attached to and soon floated towards his hand.

As it moved, he watched as a blaster bolt came from behind the droid out of his view and incinerate the flesh of his left arm... not severing the hand from the limb, but causing devestating pain. As his concentration began to break, he felt the droid behind him taking aim at his beloved Tashi. Despite dropping her gun, the droid did not intend to show mercy as it moved its gun sight closer and closer to her.

As the ion grenade began to fall from his grip, Genda concentrated his attention... blocking out the excrutiating pain in order to maintain his grip upon the object. Knowing that he couldn’t throw it, he focused every shred of his will upon the metal sphere and shifting the trigger into the arming position. Time seemed to come closer and closer to standing still as he faught to arm the grenade before the droid finally had its rifle on Tashi.

Before it could pull the trigger, Genda knew that he had only a fraction of a second for the grenade to reach its target. When the flashing light on the trigger finally lit up, he looked in the direction of the droid, but the weapon had already met its target.

Before he came out of the trance, Genda projected the grenade with so much power that the impact alone would have been enough to destroy the droid. Microseconds after breaking the sound barrier, the explosion of the EM pulse short-circuited everything within a 5-meter blast radius. The destruction of both droids saved both himself and Tashi.

Upon returning to reality, Genda knew that he had just suffered a devestating injury to his arm and shrieked in agony. Tashi was unaware of what just happened... only that he saved her from the droids. Despite what he told her to do, his cry of pain was too much to ignore. She turned back for him... not expecting to see all the guards were dead. Upon seeing the wound, she retrieved a med kit and injected him with a pain killer. After that, she embraced him around the neck. “God... I’m so sorry. Please... please don’t die.”

He gritted his teeth and held back his screams to assure her that he was fine. “You’re alright. That’s all that matters.”

“No, it’s not!” She got in front of him. “You’re almost free... if you can’t walk, I’ll drag you. We can’t stay here.”

Genda felt the painkillers take effect and breathed much easier. “I’m alright.” She helped him stand. “I’m alright.”

With no more guards in front of them, Genda and Tashi walked the rest of the way and were soon out of Faso’s palace. They were both free.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:13 AM   #21
HIGH ON PIE 14
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Wow DY, you have been busy! Sorry for my tardiness, but by the tim I saw this you had already posted chapters 1-5, so I had some catching up to do.

I think the best thing about this fic is how you make the reader identify with and really feel for the protagonist. This is rare in fics, especially when the protagonist is an OC.

Genda just used the force, didn't he!

Now, as to your cliffhanger question. First I would like to say that it was a good decision to split the chapter up. This is something I have trouble with as you know. The cliff hanger was pretty good - the characters were caught in one hell of a predicament and I definately felt that it was a positive cliffhanger. The only thing I can say about writing cliffhangers is that the last sentence is crucial. That was the only problem with your cliffhanger in Chapter 5: The Battle. It is an easy enough thing to correct though. Just make the last sentence relate to the bigger problem. Tashi crying and nodding is good for emotion, but for the cliffhanger it could have ended with something more to the effect of Genda and Tashi taking the plunge into the fray of the enemy infested corridors. (My wording is not great, but it's just a general picture.)


~HOP



Viva La Resistance!
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:31 AM   #22
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Keep it up Yuthura, I'm really enjoying this story thus far. I agree with High On Pie that it was a good idea to split it up and I also felt the cliffhanger was positive. I think Anything that can keep a reader's interest is a good thing.


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

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Old 01-20-2009, 02:29 PM   #23
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Chapter 6: A Good Deed by a Stranger

I just wanted to tell everyone how much I appreciate getting feedback and comments. I’m interested in making a good fiction, but getting compliments are just as great. I appreciate any comments that lead to improvement. Thanks to those who gave them. Thanks to those who have read this.

PS: Just letting readers know that SiD has recently been updated and is going to resume for a while. Prior to Exile is on the back burner, but I won't forget either of these fictions.

-------

As the two of them walked the streets, they both attracted public eyes. The greatest gladiator on Sleheyron being held up by a scantily-clad escaped slave woman. Genda’s wound was severe, but because Tashi didn’t have any shoes, he ended up holding her more than the other way around.

He took her to the alley way he had taken refuge the previous night. He had left her cloak among the debris, but since it had not been taken, he took it and handed it to her. “This is yours.”

She looked at it and then to him silently asking why it was there.

“I had to disguise myself and that was the best cover I could find.”

“Oh... thank-you, I guess.” She wrapped it around herself and the two sat among the jumble of useless junk. Tashi’s life may not have been in as much danger as Genda’s, but she was the more traumatized of the pair. While glad that they were both away from Faso, their future remained in jeopardy. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. “So this is how it ends.”

He looked to her, smiling. “No, this is where it begins. We’re free. We’re free to go where we choose and live as we choose. Things couldn’t have worked out better.”

She gave him a look that seemed filled with all the sadness of a lifetime. “Genda... something terrible has happened. Faso... he has the babies.”

He looked at her in disbelief. “What?”

She began crying and rubbed her belly. “They’re alive, but not in here anymore. I was induced into labor prematurely. They’re being kept in an artificial womb.”

“Wha... Why did he do that?!”

She shook her head. “He wanted to conduct experiments on them. I don’t know why, but I was forced to give birth early. They’re no longer with me.”

He looked at and rubbed the place their twins once resided. “I have to go back for them...”

She placed her fingers over his mouth. “You can’t. They’re being grown in a laboratory. Even if we could rescue them, we can’t take them with us. They would die if they are removed prematurely.”

His mouth hung open.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t want to tell you because there was nothing we could do. He just...” She started weeping uncontrollably.

He looked at her with hurt in his eyes, but extended his right arm around her. “I’m sorry.” Tashi buried her head against his chest and whined painfully. He continued whispering to her. “I’m so sorry. Are you alright otherwise?”

She rubbed her head against his chest as she nodded.

“What happened after we were separated?”

“It was horrible. He chained me up next to him while they prepared the surgery and forced me to watch as they prepared the artificial womb. Talking about how I was a mangy thing unworthy of carrying such divine specimens. How I was a fragile creature that created defective offspring.” She laughed painfully. “I kept begging him not to do it, but he said I should have been thanking him for removing the flaws I passed on to them. He said that I was no longer worthwhile.”

He held his head in front of hers. “Faso is a moron. Our children are better because they are more like you.”

She let her head fall back. “Thanks, but I know the truth... I’m far from special. The only reason I mattered to you was that I was the only woman in your life. You were lonely and you would’ve felt the same about any other woman. Faso was right... you deserved better than me.”

He frowned. “That’s what he said... I wanted you from the very beginning. You’re right... I fell in love because you were there for me when I needed you most. When I wanted my freedom... when I wanted to live... I risked it all to go back for you, gladly.” He gave her a sympathetic stare. “You matter. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.”

She embraced him again. “So what happens next?”

He laid against the wall and thought of it. “We should get underway. Faso may still be looking for us, so we have to get as far away from this place as we can.”

She nodded. “So we have control of our destiny? What do we do after that?”

He got to his feet with her helping him up. He held his wounded left arm. “The drug’s wearing off. Do you still have that med kit?”

She looked at him with guilt in her eyes.

He just nodded. “I’ll get used to the pain.”

She looked at the arm and then to him. “You need surgery. That is not just something that you can treat on your own.”

“I know. We also can’t afford a hospital.” He held the arm and stared at it. “Odds are that I’ll lose my hand.” Before she could respond, he stopped her. “It’s alright. I lost a limb, but saved a life.”

She held the arm and saw that a bone had been broken open and that the marrow was open to infection. “It might not come to that. I know someone who might be able to help you.”

-----------

The one Tashi spoke of was a physician who was employed by her last master. He seemed to genuinely care about the well-being of the injured. He didn’t give free service as the Hutts taxed doctors heavily, but he provided desperate or impoverished patients the means to work off debts. It proved to be beneficial for both the patient and doctor as he often got more in return from their services than he would have in paying for a dedicated secretary.

The drawbacks of the practice was that he got many more patients than he could provide work for. He had only been working on Sleheyron for ‘a few years,’ but she remembered that he was struggling to break even for profit nearly two years ago. She didn’t even know if he were still practicing on Sleheyron, let alone willing to provide such an expensive surgery w/out any advanced payment. She didn’t tell Genda, but Tashi intended to prostitute herself in the exchange. Since she was no longer pregnant, he might have accepted the offer.

Genda left lost his assault riffle at the palace, otherwise it might have sold for enough to pay the fare to his clinic... and maybe a sufficient advanced payment for the surgery. They sold off everything Genda had of value, a power pack and two comlinks, for just enough credits to ride the maglev train to the right city. Tashi didn’t realize it at the time, but as the painkillers wore off, Genda’s injury was becoming more unbearable. She watched as his pain became more apparent.

At first, he had simply closed his eyes and leaned his head back. Then he began clenching the flesh around the elbow, slowly shifting his body to and fro, and breathed heavily. When he started displaying facial reactions and erratic breaths of agony, Tashi feared he was going to faint at any moment.

As she and he heard the 5-minute boarding call for the next maglev train, she waited for him to stand and lead them to the train, but he was in too much pain and didn’t want to stand. Tashi realized that there was no way that he could make it to the clinic. Not only did he have to make the trip, but walk a few kilometers from the destination station to the clinic. If he were already in agony, walking would have made it even more excruciating.

Suddenly, her attention was drawn to a woman she had never met approaching. She had a look in her eyes that made Tashi nervous and she patted Genda’s good shoulder gently and spoke his name. He opened his eyes to see the woman who had been walking towards them.

Alayna got on a knee in front of Genda and asked to see the arm he was clutching. He had dressed the wound only to keep infection away, but he did remove the cloth to reveal it. She lightly gasped. “By the Force. This is no mere flesh wound.” She gently handled the undamaged flesh around the wound. “This demands surgery... immediately.”

Tashi answered in an offensive manner. “Thanks. If the unbearable pain didn’t give that away, I’m sure he’d have been interested in a second opinion.”

“Where is the closest hospital?”

Tashi answered. “That’s not an option. Do we look like we have any credits to spare?”

Alayna kneeled before Genda. “I have a ship nearby. It’s not a hospital, but I could tend to this if you want.”

Genda looked into her eyes. “What do you want in return?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Nothing. I just would like to help you if you’re in pain. Do you want me to take you there?”

Genda didn’t even look to Tashi before nodding desperately. He never met that strange woman, yet he had put their lives in her hands. Tashi had held him before he could get up. “Genda... you don’t know this woman. No one just offers something unless they want something in return.”

“What if I brought the medical supplies here?” Alayna asked.

Tashi answered. “Our train leaves in less than five minutes.”

Genda desperately shouted to Tashi. “Please!” Then he struggled to speak normally. “I’m sorry, Tashi, but I can’t wait any longer. If you don’t want to go with me...”

She rolled her eyes back. “Oh shut up.” She looked to Alayna. “Your offer is accepted, but if you do anything to him, I’ll make you regret it.”

Alayna was startled by that. While she thought it was good to know someone was looking out for him, she wasn’t fond to discover that Genda had a strong emotional bond with a woman... or that she had one with him. It would have made Jedi training that much more difficult.

--------

As Alayna and Tashi escorted the wounded Genda to the landed Ebon Hawk, he was in agonizing pain because the slightest movement caused severed muscles and ligament tissue to move how they weren’t supposed to. That was worse than a severed limb because the blaster shot left the wrist and hand attached by only one bone to the elbow.

Alayna couldn’t help but ask why Tashi only had on a cloak over her undergarments. She asked the question less-directly. “I notice you don’t have any protection for your feet.”

“No, my feet were not so critical a necessity that we could squander what little credits we had to waste.”

“How did you manage without a pair of boots? Your feet must hurt.”

She looked at Alayna, irritated. “I’m not used to walking outdoors. I haven’t had that much need for them.”

“If you would like, I could see that you get a change of clothes.” Alayna offered.

“I don’t have anything to offer.”

“It’s no matter. I just want to help if I can.”

When they were on board, Visas stood near the entrance, but didn’t say anything to greet them and wasn’t addressed by even Alayna. The three of them carried Genda to the small medical room and set him on the bed. As he groaned in pain, he didn’t say anything to either of them. Sweat had gathered on his brow and he looked in more agony than Tashi could ever remember.

“Please give him something to ease the pain.” Tashi asked.

Alayna grabbed a hypo spray and inserted an a vial into the device. After the injection, Tashi sighed in relief. He likely did not feel any physical effects, but simply knowing he had been given a painkiller was enough for her.

Alayna stood and watched as Genda’s breaths slowed and he felt the pain going away. Tashi held his other arm to let him know she was there. Then she looked to Alayna. “You say you can help him? Can you save his hand?”

Alayna got out a medical apron and started wrapping it around her waist and neck. “I think so, but I can’t repair all the damage. I can heal the muscle and ensure the bone marrow doesn’t become infected. I have to perform a minor surgery for him and I need to ask you to leave.”

“What? Why can’t I stay with him?”

“Because I need a sterile environment, or the risk of infection will go up.” Alayna set her hand on Tashi’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of him.”

Genda extended his hand for Tashi and she held it in hers. “It’ll be alright. I’ll be waiting for you nearby.”

Alayna followed Tashi as she backed out of the infirmary. Visas was outside, staying out of the way, but standing by if she was needed. “Visas, please make our guest feel welcome. I need to perform a surgery on the other. Will you please do that?”

“Of course.”

Alayna smiled to Tashi. “If you need anything, just ask.”

“Please just heal him.”

Alayna nodded and went back to Genda, closing the hatch behind her.

Tashi was offered something to eat, to change, and a set of quarters, but she declined and just took a seat in the main compartment around the holo projector. Visas sat nearby as well, but did not address Tashi again.

Tashi was very uncomfortable where she was, but didn’t say anything to Visas. Although she would have liked to know what Alayna really wanted, she felt that she was in no position to decline help when it was offered. She didn’t trust Alayna’s intention, but couldn’t afford to endanger his only chance of making a full recovery.

Visas was once a slave like Tashi, so she was in the habit of avoiding ‘small talk.’ Slaves were not permitted to address guests without the permission of their master, so neither one spoke again after that. Tashi noticed the T3 droid moving about the ship now and again, but they ignored each other.

------(One hour later)------

Alayna came out of the medical area, taking off the surgeon’s gown and closed the door behind her. The scantily-clad Tashi got up and approached. Alayna addressed her first. “I kept the bone marrow from becoming infected. There is no means to fully repair it with what we have available, but I’ve stabilized his condition long enough to get him to a hospital.” When Tashi attempted to object, Alayna added “On another world.”

“I’d like to see him.”

“He’s unconscious.”

“I still want to see him.” She said in a more intimidating manner.

Alayna nodded and gestured Tashi to the medical area. When the door opened, the lights were dimmed. Alayna stayed out of Tashi’s way, hoping to show her that she didn’t need to feel nervous or concerned about staying. When she saw the wound, which was covered by a brace and properly dressed, Tashi was content. She closed the door and went to Alayna. “I don’t know why you did all this, but I thank you. Will he be in pain?”

Alayna shook her head. “The pain is still there, but the drug I gave him should numb the sensation. I still would like to get him to a medical center. His arm can still be saved, but it can’t fully heal without another surgery.”

She tilted her head to one side. “That’s going out of your way... quite a bit for some stranger. Don’t you think?”

Alayna sighed. “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you that I don’t have hidden motives.”

Tashi frowned. “I saw this ship land only minutes before you approached us. Don’t think I didn’t notice that you walked straight to him before you even saw his face, let alone that he was wounded. You knew exactly where he was. How did you track us?”

Alayna normally didn’t just use the mind trick on people when she could make a convincing lie, but she knew there was no way to explain that with words. She waved her hand at Tashi to use the mind trick. “It’s alright. You want to trust me.”

Tashi didn’t know much about the Jedi, so when the mind trick didn’t work, she didn’t understand what was going on. “How can I? The only reason I went along with you was because I knew I couldn’t help him and you could. Don’t think I haven’t seen through your deception.”

Alayna sighed, knowing that she had been caught red-handed. “Okay... yes, I came to Sleheyron because of him. I admit that.”

“Came to Sleheyron? What do you want with him? I can’t imagine Faso hiring someone like you to find us.” She buried her head in her hands, facing the reality that Alayna was clearly not just some stranger. It might have given her some comfort knowing that Alayna was hired to catch them, but even that didn’t seem likely. “Oh god, what have I gotten us into?”

Alayna gently held Tashi’s shoulders and guided her to a seat near the holo-imager. “Look, I really don’t know as much as you think I do. This may be difficult, but could you please tell me about your situation? Are you two in trouble with the law? Is there a bounty out on you?”

Tashi looked up and came to a conclusion, but remained skeptical. “You’re serious. You don’t know anything.”

She shook her head gently. “I’ll gladly answer your questions, but I need to know what’s going on before I can.” She held Tashi’s cloak by the collar to gesture to her attire. “But first, I think you would like to change into something else. Or would you prefer something to eat?”

Although she had little concern with modesty, Tashi was rather uncomfortable being in her underwear. She felt that it reflected upon him badly, so she opted for some clothing.

Alayna led Tashi to her quarters and pulled out a chest holding various styles of clothing that had been collected over the years. “I hope you don’t mind. Many of these are old and some are beat up, but if there’s something you like, you can have it. They’re better belonging to someone than gathering dust.” When Alayna stood to leave, she added, “If nothing appeals to you I could...”

“This is fine. It’s more than what I’ve had to choose from most of the time. Thank-you.”

She gave a very pleasant smile. “Don’t mention it, although I would appreciate it if you not look through anything other than this footlocker.” Then she gave Tashi some privacy.

-----

Tashi really liked trying on new clothes because she knew that she had the choice of what was most comfortable rather than what was most aesthetically pleasing. She learned to tolerate having her garb dictated, but she appreciated being comfortable in her own skin. When she served as pleasure slave for the first few years of her adolescent life, Tashi’s skin was often all she wore. She learned to be comfortable having nothing on at all, but always preferred being covered. After about ten minutes, she found a Jedi robe that Alayna discarded a long time ago. It was worn, but comfortable. It also wasn’t flashy... as she wanted.

She did continue to look through the footlocker and found a very flashy dancer’s outfit that most likely belonged to a slave... no female would have put it on willingly. Tashi didn’t really like going through another woman’s more private attire, but she couldn’t help but see the resemblance between that and the one she wore for Genda over the last several weeks.

Alayna had walked in while she was staring at the outfit and, through some measure of pride, told her of the story behind it. “I got that a few years ago. I was looking for a source of fuel for the Telos restoration project and discovered a seller on Nar Shadaa, Vogga the Hutt.”

Tashi nodded. “I’ve heard of him. He’s one of the wealthiest Hutts on Sleheyron.”

She nodded, smiling. “Well I told Vogga about the restoration project, but he demanded an unreasonable price for his fuel. When he refused, I said that unless he charged a fair price, the Republic would not deal with him. I demanded him to lower the price, then both sides would benefit... but he had a counter-demand...” She gestured to the costume. “He wanted me to dance for him and gave me that.”

Tashi stared at Alayna as if she were joking. “You’re telling me that you convinced a Hutt to lower the rate of a major business transaction like that...” She held up the top piece of the outfit “...with this?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Not really. The Republic wouldn’t have traded with him if the price was too high. I think that he knew I wouldn’t have said ‘no’ to a small gesture. After signing the contract, he gave it to me as a gift... just in case I was ever interested in performing for him again.”

Tashi chuckled, clearly not convinced. “Why would he assume you ever would?”

“Well he offered to pay me. I needed the credits, so I took him up on that offer once or twice.”

Tashi smiled pleasantly. “You know, I can’t figure something out. Hutts are so interested in getting rich and living lavishly, yet they don’t seem to know how to spend their money. They don’t earn any of it, yet they prefer buying slaves such as us instead of buying droids. They hate being cheated, but it really wouldn’t matter to them...”

Alayna interrupted. “You two were slaves?” She sighed remorsefully. “That’s why you were so afraid to trust me.” She shook her head. “But don’t worry. We’ll protect you from your master if he comes looking for you. How long have you two been kept in captivity?”

Tashi could not believe what she had heard. She didn’t believe Alayna was sincere about her motives, but something about her presence seemed to command authority. “He said that he had been taken about five or six years ago. I was born a slave.”

Alayna held sympathy in her eyes. “All your life? How old are you now?”

“I’m thirty one standard years old.”

Alayna was disturbed by that and burst out. “He’s only 18! Compared to you, he’s just a boy. When did you two...?”

Tashi leaned her head to one side as she came to a revelation that something was very wrong. “How did you know how old he really is? Faso has him listed as being 22 to the public.”

Alayna realized that she had made another mistake and said too much. She just kept silent.

Tashi stepped directly in front of Alayna. “How did you know that? I demand that you tell me the truth... all of the truth. I know you are not intimidated by me, but you have every reason to fear Genda. If you deceive him, he’ll make you regret it.”

Alayna saw that Tashi truly loved him, but was hesitant to reveal the truth so soon. She had hoped to earn their trust before she told Genda a fact that would change his life forever, but she underestimated how acute Tashi was in her observations. After a moment of having her back turned, she faced Tashi again. “The reason why I came here... the reason I wanted to find him... it’s because he is my son.”
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:40 PM   #24
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Wow....bombshell ending....I demand to read more!!!


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Old 01-21-2009, 11:24 PM   #25
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No way...no way

great chap DY, I am left wanting more!

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:30 PM   #26
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Chapter 7: A Past Revealed

Alayna had had intended to gather everyone to the center compartment of the Ebon Hawk after Genda woke up. He was offered a change of cloths, but he preferred to wear his Echani armour. Alayna wouldn’t have minded that the armour reeked from the years of sweat and blood, but she insisted that Tashi might have appreciated not having the smell of war on him.

The facilities on the Ebon Hawk did not include a shower stall, so he and Tashi shared in a sponge bath for half an hour. Alayna thought it was the best way for Genda to hear the news; from one he cared for. She spoke to Visas, who still did not know that Genda was Alayna’s son. Each took the news with great skepticism.

When the two came out of the medical compartment, Genda’s arm had a brace that was very apparent. It was holding the muscle tissue and bones in place to avoid infection or further damage. There was still some residual pain, but the injury was not at risk of getting worse.

Alayna and Visas were sitting in the central compartment and stopped talking when they heard the door hiss open. Alayna and Genda’s eyes were fixed on each other. Alayna knew she was facing her son. Genda did not know who was upon his gaze.

Alayna broke the tender moment when she stood up and gestured the two to sit down while she and Visas got to chairs on the opposite side of the holo projector. “Please, have a seat. We have a lot to talk about.”

Although Tashi believed what Alayna told her, she still had doubt on the back of her mind. Genda didn’t speak much of his past life, but she did know that he was an orphan and that it was not because his parents were killed. Even Visas wasn’t aware that Alayna ever had a son. She knew Genda held great importance, but even she was not aware Alayna ever had a child.

Genda and Tashi sat right next to each other as Alayna tried not to smile... partially because she didn’t know how he regarded her, if at all. Tashi wanted to see Genda reunited with his mother, but didn’t actually tell him... only who Alayna claimed to be. Tashi believed what she had been told, but did not want to put so much faith in a stranger’s word.

There was another reason she remained skeptical; she almost hoped that Alayna was lying. Tashi didn’t consider herself worthy of Genda and didn’t believe a mother would have approved of him and a slave. As Alayna sat down, Tashi remained unsure which outcome to hope for.

With Visas sitting next to her, Alayna sat opposite to the other pair and began to tell a story of her past. “Right now, I’m sure you’re wondering who I am and why we sought you out. I was hoping to keep this secret until we got to know each other a little more, but...” She scoffed. ”I just realized that we’ve never been formally introduced. I’m Alayna and this is Visas.”

“I would prefer not to speak my name.” Genda replied.

Tashi rubbed his shoulder. “She already knows you. I’m Tashi... he’s my master.”

Genda looked to her. “You’re not a slave anymore. Please don’t think that, alright?”

“Actually, I really don’t know your name.” Alayna said.

Genda looked at her as if to silently say ‘is this a joke?’ “You claim to be my mother... and you don’t even know who I am?”

Alayna nodded and continued. “I didn’t name you. I gave that privilege to your foster father, Jason Marsden. Is that name familiar to you?”

Genda looked to Tashi as if to verify what she was told. “That was my father’s name, yes.”

She smiled. “And what name did he choose for you?”

He shook his head. “You know the name of my foster father, but that doesn’t mean that you are who you claim to be. I mean... my mother?”

She nodded nervously. “Yes. Your father’s name was Spratt Genda, he was a Mandalorian.”

That got his attention. “’Spratt’? Was that my natural father’s name?”

“Yes. And may I ask your name?”

“Minoru... Minoru Genda.”

Alayna began crying as she stood to embrace Genda, but he stood up to back away and she stopped. “I’m sorry. You don’t remember me at all, so you have no reason to trust me. I don’t expect you to, so if you would like; I could do a DNA test and that would prove beyond a doubt who I am.”

“When?”

“Right now. I already compared a sample of your blood to mine and I could show you the results.” She gestured to the infirmary. “Please come.”

Tashi stood up and got between them. “Hold on. How can we trust anything you say? I don’t know anything about genetics and can’t tell whether something is genuine or not. How can we know that it’s your blood? His?” She gestured to Visas. “Or hers?”

Alayna shrugged her shoulders. “I can’t. I would take the test again if you want. Even then, I can arrange another test by a hospital if you want.”

Genda put his hand on Tashi’s shoulder. “I’d like to see this test for myself... if you don’t mind.”

Alayna smiled. “Of course.”

-----

Genda showed great enthusiasm as Alayna ran the first test and as the results were displayed on the console’s display, Alayna’s perplexed expression gave him some comfort. The sample of blood he provided was actually Tashi’s... nothing close to Alayna’s. When the test was complete, Genda gave her another drop of his blood, confident that it wasn’t going to be falsified. When the second test results were complete, he looked upon his mother and she let him view the results.

When he pulled his head up, he stared at Alayna for a long moment and just uttered one word. “Mother?”

She nodded and smiled, holding back tears as she knew he said it as a question. “Yes.”

“How?”

Tears streamed from her eyes after she blushed. Although she knew Genda still wasn’t convinced, she couldn’t help help herself as she embraced her son.

Genda was not used to the sensation of being held in the way Alayna was... there was a difference between a mother and her son and two lovers. Tashi and Visas were nearby watching the two, both alien to seeing their masters so vulnerable. Tashi knew that the woman holding Genda had him at her mercy. Visas knew that Alayna’s attachment to her son was a danger to her.

As Genda let her hold him, she stroked the back of his neck and shoulders. “I thought you were dead.”

“Almost.”

She let him go and stepped back. “My god. How many years have you been here? How long have you lived like this?”

“Four or five years.”

She blinked back more tears. “Years?” She sighed. “I’m sorry, can we sit down?”

He nodded and the four of them gathered around the holo table again. When Alayna sat down, she looked to Visas, who wanted some answers as well. All the focus was on her, but Alayna was still conflicted with emotion. She sighed and crossed her arms. “Perhapse I need to get my story in order. My friend here doesn’t know everything and deserves an explanation. Some of what I saw may not make sense to you, but I ask you bear with me.” She faced Visas. “I was once part of a great society, but certain actions I’ve taken lead to me losing everything and being shut out by the very people I wanted to protect. Shortly after my Exile, I was left disoriented, blind, and with no one to turn to. At some point, I was found by a Mandalorian, Spratt Genda. He said I had fought honorably during the Mandalorian Wars. Even after I lost my connection to the Force, he respected me.”
She looked to Genda. “There was a decade of my life when I was left in utter ruin. After the Mandalorian Wars, I suffered a traumatic event, I... was broken, isolated, and in bedlam. Spratt found me and wanted to help me recover from the trauma of the war.” She looked to Visas. “And from losing the Force.” She looked back to Genda. “Almost instantly, we fell in love, but in our case... it wasn’t enough.”

“What happened?” Genda asked.

She sighed. “It’s what didn’t happen. He knew that I had suffered a terrible loss, but he thought I had the courage to overcome it and recover as I always had during the war.” She looked down in shame. “I never did.”

Genda looked to Tashi and they shared a moment where they knew each other’s feelings. They were both saddened to know that her suffering was what lead to his life as a slave. He looked back to Alayna for more. Tashi didn’t know if she wanted to hear the rest.

“I became pregnant early in our affair, but by the time you were born, Spratt knew I had already given up on myself and left.” She wept more intensely. “I knew that I could not take care of you; I couldn’t care for myself. The Mandalorian Empire was destroyed, I no longer had faith in the Jedi... so I gave you to an old friend on Telos. He said that he would care for you as long as I needed help, but that if I ever learned to pick myself up and get my life back together, he would let me be your mother again.”

“But when Telos was destroyed?” he said.

She sighed in guilt. “I didn’t even know of Telos’ destruction for months after the event. I tried contacting Jason, your adopted father, when I got no response, I just assumed you both were lost.”

Genda nodded. “He was killed, but I was in a school that was not hit by the bombardment. Everything else around was completely vaporized.”

She looked at him grimly. “What happened to you after that? I realize that you were captured by slavers shortly after, but how bad were the last five years for you?”

He looked down, but Tashi answered for him. “They made him a dedicated gladiator, fighting for crowds every week in fights to the death... every week! The last five years were the worst kind of hell you could possibly imagine. You left him behind and he’s suffered more greatly than you could ever imagine!” Genda tried to calm her, but Tashi kept shouting. “If you came to save him, you’re about five years too late! Do you have any idea how terribly he suffered?!”

“Tashi!” He held her shoulder and pulled her back to sit down. “It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s done. Please don’t be angry.”

Tashi breathed heavily and with great anger in her soul, but she nodded and did as he asked. After she did, Genda turned his attention back to Alayna. “But Tashi does bring up a good question. After all these years, why did you come just hours after we freed ourselves? Did you simply want to watch...?”

“I became aware that you were alive only two days ago. At the time, I didn’t even know that it was you, but we rushed to come here. I wish that I had arrived to help you, but...” She stood up and turned her back to Genda shortly before turning around again. “I swear that if I had known earlier, I would’ve come for you...” She looked to Tashi. “...both of you. It’s just that...” She sighed and sat back down. “Do you know about the Jedi or the Force?”

He shook his head. She answered. “I’ve heard of them. That they’re some kind of elite warrior for the Republic?”

Alayna smiled at Tashi. “They’re more than that. We tend to think of ourselves as guardians of the peace. We train ourselves to harness the power of the Force so we can use it to bring peace and justice to the Galaxy.”

“You’re one of them?” Tashi asked.

Alayna smiled. “Yes.” She gestured to Visas. “We both are. However, right now we’re struggling to keep the Jedi Order alive. We’re interested in finding people with the courage to fight for freedom and who want to learn the ways of the Force.”

“The Force?” He asked.

She smiled. “Yes. The Force is a powerful energy that comes from all living things. It binds the universe together and can be found in almost all life. Jedi are not just trained in the ability to fight, but we have the ability to manipulate the Force in ways that don’t come naturally.”

Genda and Tashi looked at each other as if they didn’t know what Alayna spoke of, but were too nervous to ask. They didn’t ask anything because they didn’t know what exactly didn’t make sense if all of it was alien to them.

Alayna just nodded. “You don’t have to understand what I speak of in order to know that it was the Force that brought me here. In the last two days, I felt your presence through the Force, Genda. It’s difficult to sense even one so strong as you from a great distance, but you did something that few have ever done... you tapped into the Force without any formal Jedi training.”

Tashi looked to him, but Genda was almost mesmerized as he realized that everything in the last two days were indeed real. He was afraid to say anything to Tashi because he couldn’t believe it himself, but he was very interested in what his mother was telling them. “What does that mean?”

Alayna looked to Visas and she continued Alayna’s lecture. “The Force runs strong in bloodlines. Often family members, siblings, and loved ones share a powerful bond that allow their own connection to the Force to be strengthened. When your mother was honing on your position, I couldn’t sense you then, but I could during moments of extreme stress, anger, fear. Have you had a moment when you willed something to happen that you could not explain? When something extraordinary happened that seemed like magic to you?”

Genda breathed heavily. “Yes.”

Visas resumed. “That wasn’t magic. That was the Force; and you were the one who willed it to happen.” She stood up. “It is the Force that allows me to see you. It radiates off you... her. It is everywhere, but you are one of the few who can feel it.”

“Feel it? How do you know any of this?”

Alayna stood up and kneeled beside Genda. “I know you’ve learned to harness its potential.” She extended her arm out and pulled a medical tool from the infirmary to her hand. She levitated it before him. “It is the Force. This is only a small example of its vast potential.”

Tashi looked at the floating object in awe. Genda was becoming more and more tense. Although the power to manipulate objects was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, being told that he had the means to do so... although it explained how he could have grabbed and thrown that ion grenade, it sounded too good to be true.

Alayna set the object on the table and continued. “You have the potential to do much more than this. The Force leads to infinite possibilities and you can harness its vast energy. I can teach you to use it.”

Genda stood up from his seat and stepped back in horror. “You’re crazy. I don’t believe any of this. My mother died long ago! Come on, Tashi, we’re getting out of here!”

Alayna stood up and moved to get between him and the boarding hatch. “Please... don’t go. I didn’t want to tell you all this at once, but if I told you anything other than the truth... If I were trying to deceive you, do you think I could come up with a better lie?” She gently held onto his shoulders and guided him to the starboard crew quarters for a private word. “I know you’re afraid... but not for yourself.” She looked in Tashi’s direction, through the bulkhead. “I won’t stop you if you wish to leave, but I urge you not to. Will you at least let me take you to a hospital?”

He looked at the brace on his arm and realized that they had nowhere else to go or anyone to trust. Since they first met, Alayna had not done anything to question her trustworthiness. In addition to not having any better options, she was his natural mother. “And Tashi?”

She smiled. “She’ll be treated with the same respect as you. And after that, if you still don’t want anything more to do with me, I can arrange a new life for both of you. There, you two would be safe from the Hutts. If not, I can teach you to hone your Force abilities, you could learn to leave this life behind, and...” She turned around to think of the words she wanted to share. As she slowly turned her head, she spoke as a request, “You’re an adult. I missed your childhood, but you learned to survive without me. That doesn’t mean I’m free of my responsibilities. I could be your mother again... the mother I should have been.” When he attempted to reply, she gestured for him to stop. “I won’t force myself upon you. I’m just letting you know that I’ll always be there if ever you need me again.” She turned to leave, but looked over her shoulder. “I’m setting a course for Coruscant. If you and Tashi wish to come with us, I’ll provide for your surgery once we get there. If you wish to stay on Sleheyron, the hatch will be remain open for the next ten minutes.”

She continued into the the center compartment and gestured Tashi to check with Genda. “We’ll be underway in ten minutes. You two are welcome to come along or to be let off wherever you want. I don’t think you want to stay on Sleheyron, but you have that option.”

As she continued to the cockpit, Tashi asked a more personal question. “You don’t approve of... us do you?”

Alayna stopped and approached Tashi with a sympathetic stare. “If I give you that impression, I assure you that it’s something else. It’s not something either of you would understand, but I assure you that I hold no hard feelings for you.”

As she went to the pilot’s seat, Tashi followed and stood behind as Alayna brought the Ebon Hawk to life. “I’ve heard many people say those words. ‘It’s not you’ is a way of making an excuse that spares feelings, but ultimately is a lie. If you’re afraid of hurting my feelings, I don’t have any feelings to hurt.”

Alayna sighed as she had to confront a problem that she didn’t want to address so soon. “I told you the truth. If you feel as though I’m judging ‘you,’ it is your choice to think that, but in reality, I think rather highly of you.”

“I’ve never flown before. Is it scary?” Tashi took the adjacent seat, gripping the handrests.

Alayna continued powering up the ship’s systems. “For one who’s new to it, yes, it will be. However, I will try to make the ride as smooth as possible. There’s almost no chance that we’ll crash.”

Tashi started getting pale, but she refused to move. “Almost?”

Alayna scoffed. “It happens. Would you have preferred that I say nothing will possibly happen? This will be an exciting ride, but you don’t have to worry about crashing.”

She exhaled sharply. “Thanks.” A moment passed. “If you say you think highly of me, then why do you have a problem? Do you think I was the one to seduce him? It was the other way around.”

“Would you please stop asking?! I’m not judgmental. I just wanted to make you feel more welcome, that’s all.”

“I’m sorry. I just have been trained to please my master. That has often involved going beyond their commands and doing what I thought was necessary.” She rested her head upon her wrists. She thought about telling Alayna that she was a grandmother, but realized that it would have only caused more pain for everyone if they didn’t just forget about them and go on. It was not the first time she had her children taken away and sold, but they were the most painful to lose. She knew that at least the two of them could try again and not worry about their future.

Genda came to the cockpit as well and got behind Tashi, rubbing the side of her neck. “Alayna?” She turned to face Genda, smiling. “You said that if we needed something, that I should ask?”

“Of course.”

“It would be a huge request... I’ll gladly come along once I can...”

Tashi shot around. “Genda!” He looked to see her gently shake her head. “There is nothing anyone can do... just let them go.”

Alayna insisted they ask. “Are there others that need to be freed? We don’t have much room, but...”

“No. There are others, yes, but there is no means to free them that won’t result in their deaths. All that matters is that Genda is here...” She held his hand. “...and will not be taken away again.”

Alayna watched as she saw the dream of Genda becoming a Jedi slowly die in front of her. Although he was happy and at peace for once, it was because of Tashi. If she were lost, his happiness and peace might have died with her.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 01-24-2009 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:44 AM   #27
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Powerful chapter DY, very powerful. It's great to see that Genda is somewhat at peace. Great, emotional chapter--it was very entertaining.

I did notice one typo though:
Quote:
He nodded and the four of them gathered around the holo table again. When Alayna sat down, she looked to Visas, who wanted some answers as well. All the focus was on her, but Alayna was still conflicted with emotion. She sighed and crossed her arms. “Perhapse I need to get my story in order.

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:30 PM   #28
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Chapter 7: Always a Slave

Shortly upon his discharge from surgery, Genda was returned to his hospital room with an anxious Tashi awaiting him. Upon his arrival, they held onto each other with all their strength. They saw that there were a few hours before Alayna said they were expected to return. The two of them sat on the hospital bed and Tashi curled beside Genda. “I never did thank you for saving my life.”

“You didn’t have to. I only regret that we lost our children to Faso. I just hope that I learn how to use the Force in time so I can save them. We have about four months...”

Tashi covered his mouth. “We’ll find them. In the meantime, we are alone and have several hours to ourselves.”

“They might arrive before that. I would prefer to wait for a more proper time.”

She nodded. “Alright, I understand. Just give me a moment to freshen up.” Tashi went to the lavatory adjacent to the room. She had planned something special for Genda and herself. Knowing she was officially free, Tashi wanted to do something brash that she would never have been allowed back on Sleheyron... directly disobey Genda.

Alayna had extended Tashi an offer to take whatever clothes she wanted from that chest on the Ebon Hawk that first day. Under her old robe, Tashi wore that dancer’s outfit that supposedly won the Republic a source of fuel at a reasonable price from Vogga the Hutt. She removed the robe and looked at herself in the mirror. Having only been pregnant a few days ago, Tashi knew that she was still a few kilos overweight, but she was embarrassed at the way she looked in an outfit that didn’t even fit her properly. She hadn’t known that it was custom-made for Alayna.

When she thought how foolish she was, Tashi slipped the robe back on and decided not to let her animal instincts drive her in that life as they had in the last. Genda’s future was on the line and the last thing he needed was for her to make a bad impression, so she just returned to his room.

He had a look of anticipation that was quickly followed by disappointment. He didn’t say anything, but she knew that he was expecting something. When she sat down next to him, he waited a moment before whispering into her ear. ”How does it feel to be free? You are truly your own master. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

“That was before. Now that you’ve given me my life to do with as I will... I don’t know what to do with it.” She lowered her head in great sadness. “I’m helpless without you.”

He stretched over to hold her and felt the metal bra under her robe. “What’s this?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Wait, what is that?”

She hesitated as she didn’t want to present herself, but knew he wouldn’t just forget the subject. She allowed him a glance at her, but covered herself again.

“You got a new one. Can I see you in it?”

“I look terrible. It doesn’t even fit properly.”

“It comes off.” Genda started removing her robe, but she held his wrists. He scoffed. “What?”

When she released his arms, Tashi stood up and paced around the room twice before turning around. “Have you spoken much to Alayna about the Jedi and your future?”

“That’s all she seems to talk about. For the first time in my life... I am really happy with the way things are. Our future is not in jeopardy... I’m going to be a Jedi...” He went up to her. “We could live our lives together... there is no one else I would rather spend the rest of my life with than you.” He held her and stroked the side of her face, smiling in appreciation of being in her presence.

Tashi continued. “Genda, your future is not certain. Alayna has told me that you’re going to have to eventually make a choice. She said that in order to become a Jedi, you must...” She began crying. “I’m so selfish! I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to live my own life. I need you.”

He held her close and stroked the back of her head and spine. “Shh... Do you remember back on Sleheyron; all those times when I was convinced I had no hope and no reason to keep going?” He moved his head snug over her neck and shoulders. “You comforted me when I was in pain. You told me what I needed to hear. You cared for me when I though no one else did.” He shook his head, crying. “I know that it was manufactured, but it made all the difference to me. You were always there for me when I needed you most. The only reason I survived that last year was because of you.” He slowly pulled her away and they each saw the other’s tears. “Now it’s your turn to be cared for.”

Tashi was so touched by those words that she had forgotten the point that she had hoped to make. No one seemed to care so much for her as Genda. His feelings warmed her heart so greatly that she forgot everything else and kissed him with her hands on the back of his head. After she broke it “There is no slavery here, so you cannot order me to do anything against my will. You saved my life and I want to show you just...” She kissed him again. “...how...much...I appreciate it.”

-------
(meanwhile
-------

Alayna and Visas walked to the entrance to the Temple, once the pinnacle of the Jedi, but which lay in ruin like the rest of the Order. The last time Alayna had seen it was almost twenty years ago... although the shell remained, the beating heart had long since been lost.

After going with Revan to protect those she loved only to have them turn their backs on her when she needed them most... it hurt her more than being severed from the Force. The love and concern she held for the Order, which was more dear than her own life, had become poison in her veins.

She remembered the last time she laid her eyes on the massive structure; she desired nothing more than to see the Order die for what they did. If she had known then that her wish would come true, she might have savored that moment. As she looked upon the Temple twenty years later, it didn’t ease her pain.

People often said that revenge didn’t ease pain, but Alayna didn’t believe it was that simple. Her exile wasn’t the fault of the Order, but of a much smaller group who were also responsible for Revan’s rise to power. Although Masters Vrook, Atris, and even Kavar made the implication that she brought everything upon herself, Alayna knew that it was the High Council who had the power and they were the ones who committed the act.

However, the Order’s demise was not the revenge Alayna wanted. She desired more that the Jedi have gotten the leadership it deserved. They should have known that they did not represent the Order when they disregarded the opinions of the other Jedi. It was for that reason Alayna wasn’t with the others at the birth of the new Order.

----
(six years earlier)
----

“Alayna, I don’t understand. Why do you think you have to leave?” Mical asked.

Alayna looked out a nearby window, which revealed a starry sky and two moons as their orbits nearly aligned one in front of the other. From their perspective, the larger moon was about to be eclipsed by the smaller one. It was at about that time when the shadow of the closer moon was cast upon the more distant globe... revealing that the closer of the two cresent-shaped objects was much smaller than the one behind. “Mical, it’s happening.”

He and she planned that night so they could watch a fairly rare event on Dantooine. It was not a perfect eclipse where there would be two full moons, one in front of the other, because Dantooine eclipsed them both... that event spurred less awe than what the two of them were watching. What they saw was one moon partially eclipsing another. From the eyes of the viewer, the smaller moon looked larger, but its shadow upon the more distant moon showed which was larger.

Mical looked closely to see that there indeed was a shadow upon the more distant moon. “Fascinating. To think that this is really happening... that those are moons we see. And yet, they seem so small.”

She chuckled. “If you’re not convinced, we could take the Ebon Hawk and see just how small they really are. Or maybe we could watch the shadow from the orbit of one? It would be just as real there as it is from Dantooine.”

Mical turned his attention away from the sky and back to Alayna. “I suppose that this must not be anything special to you, but I find this a breathtaking event. To me, it shows much more than either one alone. From here, you can clearly see that although they look to be right next to each other, I can see the larger moon as being closer and the smaller just being further away.”

“But you already know that.”

“Yes, I know... but it’s different to actually see it. I know that hydrogen and oxygen atoms together form water, but I can never look to such a small scale and KNOW or see their electrons being shared. I just have to trust that that’s how it works. Many things just don’t seem... real or understood if we can’t see it with our eyes. Without that shadow, I see just two objects in a night’s sky, but now I see everything... the star, where we are, where the moons are.”

Alayna tried to imagine what he was saying and realized that when you have one object against a blank background or a ship orbiting a planet, they may not seem to be so large or moving so fast, but once you have another, a point of reference, you have so much more because of it. “Yes, I can almost see Dantooine as if I were looking up at the sun being eclipsed by the small moon. I understand what you mean.”

He smiled brilliantly. “What’s your favorite kind of natural event? In all your travels, what have you seen that you found most amazing? A supernova, gas giant, asteroid belt, comet?”

She crossed her arms and really thought of the question. She had seen many celestial bodies and events, but one stood out in her mind. Although looking much like a solar eclipse, what she said meant much more to her. “You may find it strange, but what really fascinates me is a planetary nebula.”

“Sounds interesting. Why do you think it strange?”

She scoffed. “Because you don’t know what I’m talking about. If you saw one, it would appear to be a blue ring and nothing more. The only odd pattern you would notice is an aura that doesn’t resemble that of a star’s corona.”

He made an interested sound. “What causes them?”

She smiled. “Sometimes, when a star becomes a super giant, it doesn’t go supernova, but will shed much of its atmosphere. When that happens, the it ejects about 15% of its total mass and that creates a shell of gas that surround the intense star.” She paused a moment. “The result is a star that burns so hot that it emits ultraviolet instead of light energy.”

“So you end up with a neutron star? That’s why you have a hollow center.”

“No. A neutron star or singularity don’t emit, they don’t allow energy to escape. The planetary nebula only LOOKS hollow, but only because we can’t see ultraviolet radiation. A ship’s sensors would pick it up as the intense star that it is, but we could look right at it and not know it was there. The ring around the star is the UV radiation fluorescing off the perimeter as less intense light energy.”

He took a moment to envision what it must have looked like.

“Think of it like a glass sphere. It’s apparent around the edges, but appears hollow in the center. That’s why it looks like a blue ring.”

“It’s just that what’s inside is beyond what our eyes can see.” He said with a smile.

She shrugged her shoulders. “That’s it. That’s the kind of celestial body that fascinates me most.”

He leaned against the wall and stared at Alayna. “It suits you.”

“How so?”

“You... I can’t see you through the Force, but I can see the radiant energy all around you. Maybe you’re to the Force as a planetary nebula is to our eyes.”

She frequently received compliments from Mical, so Alayna smiled, but didn’t really believe he had any idea what he was talking about. He was more to her than just a friend, but because he was a Jedi in training, she had to restrain her feelings for him and teach him to do the same. Although he was pleasant to be around, Mical sucked up to her a little too often for reasons that she didn’t believe were true. Despite that, he was the most qualified of her group to lead the way to the future for the new Order.

She looked up at the moons. “I think I’m more like that smaller moon up there. Although it seems to be larger, it’s only because it’s closer. Right now, what’s more important to us is to reestablish the Jedi Order.” She sighed. “But there is something more important than that... ensuring the Republic remains intact.”

“That is why we need you to stay. The Jedi are more than protectors of the peace, but were a symbol of hope. They rallied everyone in the Republic like Bastila’s battle meditation. In a way, you are like her, but on a scale of the Republic, not just an army.”

She crossed her arms and turned away. “The Jedi Order is dead... and it deserved to die. What I set out for was to establish a new Order completely.”

“Deserved to die? That sounds a bit harsh coming from you. Yes, there have been many missteps, but they have kept the Republic alive countless times since the birth of the Republic. I don’t see why you have to leave.”

“When a forest grows too wild, a purging fire is inevitable and natural. The Jedi have reached the pinnacle of their decadence shortly before the war with Exar Kunn, but since then, they tried to maintain the traditions of the past when the future dictated that they become more dynamic in their ways.” She turned around. “The Order had become too arrogant and believed in their own superiority to the extent that they refused to believe they could be the ones at error.”

“You’re doing the same thing now. What do you think the others will think of your decision? I’ll tell you what I think; they’ll want to go with you or want you to stay here... where you belong.”

Alayna started crying and Mical held her in his arms. She knew he loved her, but had to let go of those feelings. “I can’t stay. The reason why is that I want this new Order to reflect upon all of you. Each one of you have a strength and greatness about you that aren’t typical of a Jedi. If I stay, you would rebuild the Order as I want... not as you think it should be. I’m a relic of that past that I don’t want to influence the Republic’s future.” When he tried to speak, she stopped him. “I also have an important mission that must take priority over the rebuilding of the Order: to search for whatever threatens the Republic and alert you to it.”

“Revan?”

She gave him an odd look. “If I find him, I will know. However, if I do, I will need to be able to call upon the Order and trust that they will be ready to protect the Republic when the time comes.”

He looked down in great sadness. “Have you told any of the others?”

She shook her head. “When I’m gone, the others are going to need a leader to follow; someone they can count on.” She looked him directly in the eye. “It’s a heavy responsibility... one that can’t be taken lightly. Because the decisions he makes could impact the fate of trillions of lives.”

Mical’s face lit up as he came to the realization of what he was being offered, but he was pale at the fear of what it meant. It left him speechless.

“They would follow you if I asked it of them, but I need to know if you are up to the responsibility. Not only do you have to guide the others, but you must respect their feelings. This is a community... you have ultimate control, but you cannot push them if they don’t agree with your decision. All you can do is convince them, but if you stand alone, you must yield to the majority. All of you must must work together and it will be your responsibility to maintain their unity when you are in conflict.” She went up and held his hands within hers. “I don’t expect an answer right now. You will need time if you wish to accept this great responsibility, but if you have any doubt in your mind... whomever does this must have utter confidence in himself and in the relationship with those he leads.” She looked to the moons as the shadow started waning from the most distant moon.

Mical held onto her from behind and rested his neck next to her head and upon her shoulder. “We’ve trusted you this far and you’ve not lead us astray. As much as I wish you to stay, I will respect whatever you do next...” He pulled her around to face him. “...but if you wish me to do this, then I ask that you take your own advice. I am not the only one who is against this. If you leave, you will find yourself alone again. It has always been in others that you demonstrated your strength... and it was within you that we found the best of ourselves.” He moved his head within centimeters of hers. “I will understand if you feel the need to go on alone, but I do hope you change your mind. If not... I can only do my best... and I will... for you.”

Tears of bittersweet joy came to her eyes as she heard those words. They showed he cared for her so greatly that he was willing to let go... that meant much to her, but also meant losing just that much when she was off on her own. She embraced him and whispered into his ear. “I have only one other request.”

“Of course, anything.”

She pulled back. “You will be the foundation of a new Jedi Order. I want its spirit to reflect upon that of all who are a part of it. If you encounter conflict with others, remember that it can be just as possible that the Order to change for them as it is for an individual to change to a society. When I return, I want to take my rightful place as only an individual among a society. Promise me that.”

He smiled, on the brink of tears, himself. “I promise.”

--------
(Present)
--------

Alayna and Visas stood just outside the High Council Chamber at the pinnacle of the Temple. There were a few beggars and scavengers that the two of them seemed to scare away just by walking through the ancient halls. Others were already asleep and didn’t notice as they went through quietly. Dust, webs, and insect carcasses seemed to be everywhere while many of the high-tech devices, such as lighting barely functioned. They had to take the stairways up nearly a hundred stories, which took longer than they expected.

Alayna was not as acute as seeing in the dark as Visas, so she followed as the Miraluka guided her through the hall that lead to the chamber where her exile was declared so long ago. Although she might have desired never to set foot in the chamber again, there was a reason for returning to that place of memories. Somewhere within the room was a device that served as a master key that bypassed all Jedi electronic security devices that would normally have been restricted to all but Council members.

All who have been promoted to the rank of Jedi knight were given a code number that was the pass code to a top-priority homing beacon within the temple. It was meant for a ‘doomsday’ situation where all Jedi across the Galaxy could be alerted without giving information away to anyone without a proper identification code. Anyone attempting to hack the security only got one chance to enter the code or access to the info was permanently blocked to that given terminal. Those that had the proper code were able to access the data or info that was so urgent. Alayna hoped to bring all remaining Jedi across the Galaxy and her friends, wherever they were, to a single location to determine the future of the Order.

Because there was always at least one Council member in the chamber at all times, the device was hidden, but not guarded. When Alayna found the hidden compartment under one of the seats, she pulled out a much smaller device than she expected, but it was clearly a unique key with a strange symbol and nothing else identifying to what level of authorization it provided. It was larger than a standard electronic key of its kind, but it fit in her pocket.

Alayna handed it to Visas. “Now we are the Council. I only hope that there are others to answer the call.”

Visas held the device, but didn’t move her head as most people would have to look closer at what she had been given. “Are you sure the survivors would follow you? Bastila is still alive and would likely have the loyalty of the majority if enough arrive.”

She nodded. “Maybe. That’s why we are meeting on Dxun. Canderous knows both of us and would likely convince her to support me at this time. With the support of the Mandalorians, I would have some leverage.”

Visas returned the device to Alayna and she looked at it more closely. “With this, I’ll activate the beacon and inform them that Coruscant is only a rally point and that we won’t have another incident like Katarr. Once in the Temple, a clue would be left for Jedi to follow to the next way point. Once they know, they must depart for Dxun immediately.”

“Are you confident that they will figure it out?”

She pulled out a datapadd that had a written document about the Mandalorian Wars. “In the message, I’ll end it with something about the Jedi going back to the beginning. Since Dxun was where the Mandalorian Wars began, they should see the connection between the message and this when they find this on the console in the comm room. I just hope that it’s not too obvious, but without the encrypted message, no one should know what this means.”

“Why not just leave another encrypted message here as well?”

“Because that only allows for one person to access it and the console is locked out permanently. I need something that is not terribly obvious, but that they can figure out.”

“Why don’t I stay behind? I can ensure they reach their destination.”

She sighed. “I appreciate it, but with everyone around, there is no way of telling whether you are a friend or foe. Most likely, they would be too scared to enter unless they know there are no others who can use the Force.”

“What about leaving one of the droids behind?”

She shook her head, but then realized that may have been a good idea. T3 M4 was too valuable to just leave around for a scavenger to steal. Although he could defend himself, it seemed more likely that scavengers would try to take T3 by force so they could sell him off. HK-47 on the other hand was much more difficult to take by force and many knew that Revan was once its master. He was shut down in the cargo hold anyway, so he would have been the best messenger for incoming Jedi.

“Excellent idea, Visas. HK-47 could even provide the hyperspace coordinates instead of the location itself. He can’t be stolen or destroyed by anything that scavengers can afford. He can also ensure that only Jedi know where to go, otherwise any survivors would assume this to be a trap.”

“Of course, we didn’t bring the droid with us. We will have to come back again.”

Alayna sensed Genda through the noise of Coruscant. He and Tashi were sharing an intimate moment. Alayna didn’t exactly enjoy being a part of it, she knew that they were only doing what came naturally. Her biggest concern was more that they only did it to give in to their animal instincts. If they were sharing a truly special moment, she might have felt better about what she wanted to do. In the meantime, they likely wanted to be alone.

Alayna looked to Visas. “Alright. We’ll set up the beacon first and then go back for HK-47. I’m sure Genda and Tashi wouldn’t mind having another hour or two to themselves.”

Visas didn’t react physically, but Alayna had come to know when she didn’t approve of certain decisions she made. Genda, who was an adult, in love with another, and who’s mother had a strong attachment to him, was a poor choice for Jedi training. Had he not been Alayna’s son, Genda would have been dismissed out of hand.

She noticed Visas’ concern. “You don’t seem to approve of Genda.”

She sighed. “I suppose it’s not him that concerns me... it’s you.”

“Me?”

“Yes. I know that in times of desperation, certain traditions can’t be maintained, but you’ve shown that adults can learn the ways of the Force. If this man were not your son, would you feel safe training him, despite being so emotionally unstable?”

Alayna crossed her arms and looked at the center stone, which was the same one she had stabbed almost two decades ago. The symbols of ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ were restored to the stone, but the sight of them without meaning sickened her. She felt the urge to destroy them again, but knew there were none to recognize that they were lost.

Her act so long ago was a message that she had been cheated those when she was exiled, but behaving like that again would have been pointless since no one saw that stone at all. When it was, she wanted them present, but since the stone wasn’t the subject at hand, she turned back to address Visas’ concern. “I assure you that I’m every bit as concerned as you. Genda’s already tapped into the Darkside... and I haven’t even begun training him.”

Visas looked at her with confusion. “But if he’s already at that point, wouldn’t it be best to leave him unaware of his potential? The more he knows, the more difficult it would be to restrain him.”

Alayna frowned a little. “I should have been there for him all those years ago. I had a responsibility when I became a mother... I still do.” She took a seat in one of the Council’s chairs, Master Kavar’s. He was one of her closest friends, but did not stand up for her when she needed his support most. In a way, she wanted to sit there so she could play his role, but do it right for Genda. “He might have had a normal life if I didn’t brush him off. He suffered for my mistake... and I now have a chance to right that old wrong.”

“You told Atton that he made a mistake when he killed that Jedi, but that helping you would not change that. You once said that some mistakes shouldn’t be corrected because you would sacrifice more to make reparations than to escalate your level of commitment.” She kneeled before Alayna. “As distasteful as it may seem, maybe your best option is to give him and his lover what they need to live a normal life. You can’t endanger the future of the Order for only one man.”

Alayna looked at Visas for a long moment as she knew it was the logical action, but it pained her to think of another reason or justification for abandoning her obligation to Genda yet again. Although Alayna knew she made the best choice when she couldn’t take care of herself, let alone a son, but after learning of what he had gone through... it was a mistake that she wanted to correct more than anything. It didn’t matter what her duty was, he was her son and her responsibility. But she still tried to justify her choice. “He is not beyond saving. I will teach him, but only because I would not ask anyone else to make such a sacrifice. If I don’t, then I am no better than the Council who last sat in this chamber.”


-----------

-----------

Tashi didn’t remember how long it had been since she was a dedicated pleasure slave or how many times she had served that purpose, but that was the first time in her life that she knew it was utterly consensual. It was the first time she was intimate as a free woman bound by nothing other than her desire alone.

After they were done, Genda and Tashi laid curled in each other’s arms. As he was stroking her body, he couldn’t help but smile. “You know that if you told me to stop, I would have to? That’s one of the advantages of being free; no one can make you do anything without your consent.” He rubbed her back, where scars from shock whips would always remain. “How does that feel?”

Tashi thought about that assurance, but didn’t have much faith in it. “It doesn’t exactly mean I’m safe. It just means that others don’t have the right to do it.”

“Well I think it’s better than everyone thinking not only that it’s alright, but encouraged. You’re your own master now. Don’t ever let yourself think otherwise. You also have the right to go wherever you want. You’re not obligated to stay with me.”

She rolled off the bed and stood to look out the window. It was one-way glass, but even so, no prying eyes could see the two of them. “That may be. Although I’m not obligated, you know I can’t leave. I’m simply not as self-reliant as you.”

“You’re stronger than you realize. I will be there for you as you were for me, but that doesn’t mean you must remain.”

She turned around and shook her head. “I don’t think you understand what I meant. I am not capable of taking care of myself out here. I’ve always been used to having others decide my fate. I’m not ready for the... responsibility.” She looked out the window again. “You are still my master... maybe not officially, but you will always be.”

Genda got out of the bed and held on to her from behind as he rubbed his head against hers. “Well I don’t consider you my servant. I love you, but I need to know if you love me...” He pulled her around to face him. “...or if you are just grateful that I saved you from Faso.”

She didn’t give a verbal answer. Instead, Tashi looked at the time. “We should get dressed; just in case your mother gets back early. You wouldn’t want her to...”

Genda didn’t appreciate having such a serious question brushed off, but he didn’t intend to let it go. They both got their clothes back on, but Tashi only put 0n the dancer’s outfit and stood before Genda, giving him her answer. He held her shoulders. “Please don’t tell me this. For the love of god, please don’t tell me that you... I love you, but how can you...?” He started gripping the flesh on her shoulders to a painful extent. Even as Tashi whimpered from the pain, he pushed her away and went to the door.

“Please! I don’t want to hurt you! You only fell in love because I was the only woman in your life... but you remember what I told you the first time we met. You can’t receive love from one who depends on or is obligated, that hasn’t changed.”

He opened the door and turned around. “You are your own person. I’m trying to show you that, but if you wanted to be a slave for the rest of your life...” He started crying, but became enraged. “I should have left you with Faso!”

When he stormed out of the room, Tashi knew Genda was in pain, but she was too afraid to follow. She wanted him to let her go so he could become a Jedi, but hadn’t realized how painful it would have been for him to hear her say that she didn’t share the feelings he did. Tashi hoped that by helping him became a Jedi, she could take comfort, but when he reminded her of Faso’s cruelty... she collapsed on the floor, weeping.

She knew that she couldn’t take care of herself, but couldn’t let Genda sacrifice this glorious and rare opportunity on account of her. The last thing Tashi wanted to do was hurt him, but she didn’t want him to choose her over becoming a Jedi. She just hadn’t realized how painful it would have been for her.
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:55 AM   #29
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Helpful! 
Excellent Chapter!

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Old 02-01-2009, 09:05 PM   #30
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Excellent Chapter!
QFT

This fic has really branched out, with the family connections, the option of jedi training. I like the idea of gathering the jedi together on Dxun. I feel so bad for Genda and Tashi though but I'm glad that Visas is there to be the logical one.

HK waiting fot jedi at the Temple, hehe that should be fun for the poor unsuspecting jedi. "Threat: Prove that you are a meatbag of the jedi variety or I shall blow your head off"

Great work here, DY!

~HOP



Viva La Resistance!
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:55 PM   #31
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Chapter 8:

-----
The Ebon Hawk: a few hours later
-----

Although Genda just wanted to be alone for a while, he ended up getting lost in the hospital, forcing Alayna to search for him. Visas retrieved Tashi and were all returning to the ship.

Along their way, Tashi spoke to Visas. “Why are you taking me back to your ship? I know the way back and I would have assumed you’d be looking for Genda as well.”

“I wouldn’t have been an asset to Alayna. Locating a Jedi is difficult in heavily-populated areas for me, but family members often share Force bonds. It was what allowed her to find Genda in the first place.”

“Why did it take 18 years? Did she always ‘sense’ him or what?”

Visas continued to lead, but did not look back as she answered. “I really don’t know that much, myself. I wasn’t aware she even had a son... and she told me at about the same time she told you. What I can say is that Alayna had lost her connection to the Force shortly before she had him and found it almost a decade later. Most likely, she had not established the bond until only days ago when she first sensed him under extraordinary circumstances.”

“Lost her connection? You mean she was not a Jedi at some point?”

Visas sighed as they reached an elevator and faced Tashi. “I don’t understand why you ask so many questions about the Force when you are not Force-sensative. It would be like me asking you what it is like to see. Can you describe sight to the blind? Just as difficult it is for me to describe the Force to one who has not felt its touch upon her.”

As the elevator’s doors opened, they entered the compact space teeming with people. As they went down, they heard comments on ‘the Miraluka,’ but Visas did not react in any way. Tashi was surprised how she just stood like a droid, even when there was chatter behind about how she got around and that they thought her kind were extinct. Tashi got nervous as she realized that she or Alayna could easily have killed her, if only by accident. When Genda was with her, she felt safe, but with a friend of his mother’s... she didn’t really know the intentions of either Visas or Genda’s mother.

When they stepped off the elevator on the ground floor, Visas made a comment. “I sense a growing fear within you. May I ask what is it that you are so afraid of?”

Tashi nervously replied “That for instance.”

“I don’t understand.”

“That you can read my mind, move objects with your thoughts, that you have all this power... what do you do with it?”

“Only if you answer mine... I did ask a question. If I could read your thoughts, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without your being aware of it. Alayna said you resisted the Jedi mink trick, so even if I tried I probably couldn’t do it.”

“Why?”

“There are limitations to the Force. Most Jedi can’t read minds, control the actions of others, and have only a limited degree of precognition. Our abilities depend on our mental discipline, but an individual with a strong mind can resist our mental powers, even those without the Force.”

“Okay... how did you know I was... afraid of you?”

Visas stopped where she was and did look back at Tashi. “Afraid of me?”

She hesitated. “Should I not?”

Visas remembered her time as Darth Nilhius’ slave. Being under his brutal heel was not simply dreadful, but frightening. Because his power dominated over her own, she fulfilled his every whim out of fear. She could tell Tashi had been kept in captivity for much longer and likely was afraid that she had upset her or Alayna.

She got face to face with the former slave. “You need not fear either Alayna or me. She doesn’t get angry even at people who threaten her life. And she would not want me to treat you with any less respect than I would give her... and that is what I intend to do.”

Tashi reluctantly nodded. It was so strange to her to receive such kindness that she didn’t feel comfortable, fearing that they had more in store for her than they were saying. She continued following Visas and waited on the Ebon Hawk with her as they waited for Alayna to collect Genda, wherever he was, and return with him.

----

When the four of them were finally gathered in the center compartment of the Ebon Hawk, Alayna determined that she kept Visas in the dark about too many things and included her in the discussion.

She decided to address Genda and Tashi’s conflict first. “I don’t know whether you two bicker like this regularly or if this was a one-time incident, but I know that it was because of recent events. I would like to ensure that this conflict is resolved here and now so that I won’t have to worry about you two in the near future.” She reached into her pocket and gave Tashi a datapadd. “You wanted an independent DNA test. I trust that this is sufficient to confirm that I am Genda’s biological mother. I showed it to him as well.”

Tashi looked at the padd, which could not be altered by another user. It showed the same results as the test she took that first day on the Ebon Hawk. “I didn’t mean any offense, I just couldn’t tell whether or not the one you did here was...”

“It’s alright. I had no problem with having it verified by an independent source. It doesn’t mean I expect you to trust me... just that he is indeed my son.”

Tashi set the padd down on the table and saw Genda had turned his chair so he didn't have to face her. She grabbed the back of his chair and straightened it out so he would face everyone in the compartment. “That’s childish of you. Just sit straight.”

“Yes, mother.” He said to mock Tashi.

“Enough.” Alayna said calmly. “Tashi, Genda, you’re both upset, but you only make things worse by insulting and harassing one another. Will you reframe from that at least for now?”

They silently answered ‘yes.’

“Tashi, Genda was very upset when I found him. It was because of him that we concluded our business early; we intended to give you two another hour. What happened before that?”

Tashi kept Genda only in the corner of her eye, but tried to tell him the truth as well as Alayna. “You told me about how Jedi don’t accept adults and that there may come a point where Genda will have to choose between either having a decent life for himself, or sacrificing it to be with me.”

“What?” He said in surprise, directing the question to Alayna.

She held her head down as she responded. “I didn’t address that issue with Genda, Tashi.” She stood up and turned away, tucking her arms in, Alayna just said what was on her mind to Genda. “I was horrified when I learned that you were enslaved... even more so that you were forced to fight in gladiatorial games.” Alayna sighed as if confessing to a crime that had hung over her head all those years. Although it had only been a few days since learning of him, the reality of the situation weighed on her mind as if she were just as guilty as Faso for all those years of torment and anguish. She knew she wasn’t, but could have prevented all of it.

Visas stood up and whispered into her ear. She was not void of empathy, but Visas suggested that they be underway and discuss the past en route.

Alayna nodded and turned to Genda and Tashi, tears clearly visible. “I’m sorry, but we need to be underway. Once we’re at hyperspace, I’ll answer any questions you all have.” She looked to Genda. “You deserve at least that much.”

“Where are we going?” Tashi asked.

“A brief stop at the headquarters of our once-great Order, then a two-day journey to Dxun.” She looked to Visas. “From there, we’ll all discuss whether to try and rebuild from the ashes, or start anew.”

As Alayna went to the flight deck, Tashi and Genda looked at each other with the same thought on their minds. He asked it out loud. “Is it my imagination, or does talking to her tend to raise more questions than she answers?”

Tashi didn’t respond. They both heard the ship’s systems begin to come online as Alayna prepared the ship for takeoff.

Genda stared at her for a long moment before thinking of how uncertain he was about his future and looked away apologetically. “You’ve never known what it’s like to be your own person. I grew up with it. After Telos, when I was first captured, becoming a slave was the worst experience of my life. I never realized just how much freedom meant until it was deprived from me. I always had options for what to do, where to go, and how to live... after that, I no longer had control.”

Again, she kept silent. The ship’s engines came online and the ship began vibrating due to the torque of the two sublight engines.

“I’ve forgotten it. I forgot what it was like, only that I desired more than anything to have it back. I wanted to share it with you.” He sighed and looked away again. “Now that I have my freedom back... I’m scared.” He looked back to her. “If that’s how I feel, then you must be terrified.”

Upon hearing those words, her true feelings emerged instantly with a long nod soon followed by tears. Despite hearing the engines build up thrust, Genda got out of his seat and held onto Tashi as the combination of their uncertain future, coupled with the takeoff, brought them that much closer. “On Sleheyron, I knew that if I did as I was told, my master would take care of me. It was a hard life, but I least felt secure because my master made the choices for me.”

“I’m sorry for what I said earlier. The truth is that I really am not sure what to do. Alayna didn’t even ask if we wanted to stay here.”

“Do you?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I thought she would have at least asked. I really don’t know whether it’s better to stay here, or put our lives in the hands of someone I don’t really know.”

She thought about it for a moment. “Do you have any idea where to start or for that matter, anything about this place?”

He shook his head.

“I think it’s better to follow someone you don’t trust than venture blindly into a great abyss. Her intentions may not be what she told us, but Alayna at least has some idea where she’s going.”

“Even if we have no idea whether or not its a place we wish to go?”

She sighed. “You see? This is why I don’t like having to make my own choices. I don’t know anything about this place or anywhere outside Sleheyron. How can I possibly be my own master if I don’t even know where I am, let alone what to do?”

When the ship started accelerating forward, Genda moved back to his seat and strapped himself in. Both he and Tashi were not used to moving at such velocities. Just a standard flight terrified each of them.

Because the Temple was only a few kilometers away, the ride was short, but they were breathing heavily at all the excitement. When they landed, the engines powered down. Shortly after, Alayna came back and addressed the two. “This will take a few minutes; I’ll try not to keep you waiting.”

“Where are we exactly? What's going on?” Genda asked.

Alayna stopped and thought about it for a moment, but decided that she didn’t want them anywhere near HK-47. She had shut him down because he proved more of a liability than he an asset. “I’ll be dealing with a hazardous droid, so for your own safety, please go to your quarters. I’ll tell you as soon as he’s off the ship. Once we’re at hyperspace...” She sighed. “...I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”

-------

“Diagnostic: HK-47 activated. Conjecture: I’ve been brought online. I assume that my master would not have done so unless she faces an overwhelming force of organic meat bags that she needs killed.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

“Complaint: Master, I am an assassin droid. It is my primary function to exterminate meat bags, not watch the dust gather on my chassis. Request: If you must deactivate me, would you at least shut down my core processor as well? Do you have any idea how dull it is to stand idly by in the cargo hold with only my cognitive functions online? Statement: I would have verbally objected to such cruel treatment had you not shut down my auditory functions as well.”

She frowned. “You did and I warned you that I would, but you kept complaining for hours about how stupid I was to waste an asset such as you, or how much you wanted me to find Revan... that he would become your master again, so you could kill me. I wanted to guarantee that wouldn’t happen.”

“Quarry: Why did you leave why cognitive functions online? Statement: I have two years, 217 days, and 9 hours’ worth of logs that do not contain any record of a killing. If it were possible for a droid to go insane, I most certainly would be.”

“I needed to have you ready at a moment’s notice and an auditory command wouldn’t have worked if you were completely shut down.” She glared at the droid’s cranial module. “You should be flattered that I didn’t waste an asset such as you. You were battle-ready at a moment’s notice. Would you rather that I have shut you down completely and had no means to summon you when I needed you?”

“Answer: Yes, Master. Statement: Although I am not capable of harming my master and programed to protect you, I would not be able to if I were shut down or otherwise unable to answer your commands.”

Alayna looked at the droid as if it had already gone rogue with the only thing keeping it from killing her was its programing. She had been adamant with keeping the machine on board, but couldn’t deny its usefulness. He had once been a part of her crew, but after an incident when he killed a child who was running to his dead father, HK-47 was locked away in the cargo hold. She said he had been ordered not to kill unless in self-defense, but he justified his action based on how the child ‘most likely’ was running to the blaster pistol by the side of his dead father. Alayna knew that HK was just too dangerous, even if he were utterly loyal to her master.

She was never comfortable with the droid, but it had until then fulfilled its every command, despite its constant complaints. She had considered reinstalling a computer module that made his program regard life quite opposite of the bloodthirsty-droid he was designed to be, but it made him worthless. If the module could have been deactivated by remote, it would have been there permanently. After that incident, she thought of putting it back just to ensure he was rendered harmless, but didn’t want to waste him as an asset. Instead, she put him in gray, or minimal-power, state so that he would be harmless unless a situation were so desperate that she needed a last resort. She was glad to find a reason to get rid of him that would not easily allow him to fall into the wrong hands.

“I’ve got a job for you, HK. It will require your combat skills and there’ll be lots of meat bags that you’ll have to deal with.”

“Retort: Master, if this is another one of your attempts at jocularity, please note that I am not convinced of that and therefore, will not provide you any humor.” The droid replied.

“This is no joke and what I said to you is true. I need a combat-ready droid... you”

“Exclamation: Finally, it has been too long that a droid of my abilities has been squandered. I hate having a master who is hesitant to make use of my assassin protocols, but I will savor this. Quarry: Who is my target?”

“There is no target. Do you have a layout of the Jedi Temple in your memory banks?”

“Answer: Affirmative, master. I possess a detailed architectural cross-section of the specified location... minus a few chambers restricted from the blueprints of the building.”

Alayna extended her arm to a cargo container that opened and a heavy Mandalorian rifle was lifted by the Force into view. She pulled it to her extended arm, checked that it was working, and gave it to the droid. “Here are your orders: I want you to go to the auxiliary communications array. Room F1-44 has an active panel...

***A long, boring briefing later***

“...and inform any Jedi who return that the Academy on Dantooine is public knowledge; Duxon is not only a neutral site, but that it’s well guarded. One other thing: there are many homeless refugees who have taken shelter within the temple and I want you to ensure to keep them and anyone away from the communications room. You will allow no one other than Jedi into the communication room. Most importantly, you may not use deadly force unless giving them both a warning and only if they commit the first overt-aggressive act. Are there any questions?”

HK-47 stared at Alayna for a very long moment. “Quarry: Master, why do you need ‘me’ to do this? Wouldn’t this be a job more appropriate for that little trash compactor instead?”

“Maybe, but T3 is not a sophisticated combat droid such as you, HK. I want a droid I can trust to keep the communications room safe. If any Jedi return, they must be allowed to access the equipment, so the room cannot be sealed. It is also one of the few rooms that haven’t been scavenged yet, so you will have to stand guard and make sure no one other than Jedi are allowed in. Those are your orders.”

Strangely, HK-47 complied without objection. “Mission Objectives: Guard the communications room. Allow Jedi access. Deny access to everyone else. Deadly force authorized only if under threat. Quarry: For how long will this HK unit be executing this demeaning task? Guard duty is hardly worthy of my abilities.”

“For as long as the remaining energy lasts. When the communications array shuts down, lock yourself in and shut down. You’ll be safe in the communications room until I come back for you.” Alayna said, actually hoping for a chance to neutralize HK-47 without destroying him or letting anyone else get access to him. Despite what he was, Alayna did not want to destroy the droid... it would have been the same as an execution if he were a sentient organic.

HK-47 started marching to the exit ramp muttering his disapproval, but in reality, HK looked forward to the opportunity to try a new tactic for killing off meat bags...

---------

HK-47 observed that the sun began shining through the temple windows and many of the refugees noticed the droid guarding a room that had once been too fortified to open. A few dared to approach, but HK gave his warning that any meat bag who attempted to enter the room would be treated as hostile and fired upon.

A small crowd had gathered to discuss what the droid was guarding and whether it was worth the risk. HK, knowing that the refugees were desperate preyed upon the poor wretches. When one of the refugees asked a question about how many credits they could get from the salvage, HK answered. “Answer: I would estimate there to be approximately 38,720 credits’ worth of equipment and salvage computer components in this room. Perhapse I can be of assistance by giving you a manifest of its contents and how much they would see for on the black market? Assessment: There are four terminals containing two XF4 core processors: each would sell for at least 1,500 credits. 1 K9 500 gigaquad memory cores each worth approximately 2,000. Four...”

“Wait, what is this? Why are you telling us this?” one of the salvagers asked.

“Answer: You seem to feign interest in the contents of the room that I’m guarding. I just thought I’d be of assistance. If you wish to attempt a salvage operation, there is much for you to take... provided that you can get past me. He-he.”

----------
It didn’t take long for HK-47 to get his wish. A group of salvagers gathered in an attempt to destroy the droid, but HK-47’s armour easily withstood the punishment of their meager blasters and relentlessly killed anyone who fired upon him first.

The salvagers had no protection, so it was an unfair fight that a Mandalorian would never have enjoyed, but exactly what HK-47 relished. The droid wanted to kill anyone who came within weapons range, but had his orders and did not fire until fired upon.

The droid did everything he could to remain within the constraints of his programing, but continued to provoke the salvagers into firing the first shot. Alayna would have been appalled at the lengths the droid went to kill without directly violating her orders. When the dead piled up, he moved them out of sight as to not give away how effective a combat droid he was, he fired near, but upon people who walked by, and threw the weapons of the dead out into the open to entice the desperate refugees into fighting him for the salvage he was guarding.

---------
The Ebon Hawk:
---------

Alayna sat everyone in the center hold and got in front of her son. “Genda, I’ve made many mistakes during my life. If you need to be angry at anyone for the injustices of your past, I’m the one who should be held responsible.”

Genda turned his head in another direction, trying to bottle his anger as she made him face it. He looked back to her. “You didn’t make me go head-to-head against other slaves.”

“But the mistakes of my past are what lead you to that life. I might have been able to spare you all that had I looked for you after in the aftermath. I wasn’t ready to be a mother at the time, but you might have found another life with another adopted parent.”

“What happened?”

She nodded and went back to her seat across from he and Tashi, next to Visas. “The Force is more important to a Jedi than almost anything. An incident shortly before I met your father caused me to lose it. After that, my life was in ruin and I couldn’t even help myself. Your father, Spratt, respected my deeds as a Jedi before that and tried to help me get my life back in order...” She dropped her head in shame. “...he could have if I had listened. When I was pregnant... it was an accident, but he thought that you were what I needed... someone to be responsible for. A few months later, he realized I had already given up on myself... he left me.” She started sniffling, but held back her tears. “After I had you, I might have given you to the Jedi, but I was still so bitter at what they did to me that I didn’t want you to be a part of it.”

“Wait, what did they do? What happened since then?”

She held up her hand to stop him so she could give an answer. “The Jedi Order, like the Republic, is on the verge of collapse. No, the Order is already shattered. The Republic is holding itself together, but it likely will also shatter if it has to fight another war in the next few decades.” She stood up and walked in a circle around the others. “Those of the Order have been guardians of the peace and the Jedi a symbol of hope to the Republic since its founding. There are still survivors throughout the Galaxy, but most are in hiding. A few years ago, I helped establish a small group of Jedi who officially declared themselves as the founders of a new Order.”

Visas spoke up. “What has happened since then?”

Alayna stood in front. “About a year after we left, another group of survivors, not knowing about our group on Dantooine, declared to all the Galaxy that the Jedi Order was officially reestablished. Only this new group exercised the traditions that were standard for an Order that once consisted of thousands instead of dozens.” She sighed. “Atris... was the leader of this group.” She looked to Genda and Tashi. “Atris was once a Jedi and the only one of the High Council still alive. She had the support of traditionalist Jedi while also attracting new members while our group was not as prominent to the rest of the galaxy.”

“What are we about to do?” Visas asked.

“The group that Atris had established wasn’t as stable as she hoped. Some of the surviving Jedi who joined her group were convinced that she took an authoritative form of leadership that increased the progress of the Order. She once had about about a dozen fully-trained Jedi on her side, but is now down to five. Most just left, but I know at least one died under her leadership.”

“Wait, Atris was corrupted by the Darkside. How could no one of them have seen that?”

Alayna sighed and looked to Genda and Tashi. “This isn’t important for you to know, so you don’t have to worry about names or these facts. I’m explaining to Visas the nature of what we’re doing now.” She faced Visas. “Atris... has Bastila Shem’s support. The other Jedi were willing to follow Atris because of Bastila, but even then, tensions are building within their Order.”

“How do you know all this? Why didn’t you address this until only now?”

She leaned her head back in despair. “Brianna had gone back to Atris... through her, she learned of Dantooine and compromised everything we established.”

“You mean... everyone is dead?”

After a moment of silence, “Bao-dur... Mical... Mira left them shortly after we departed, so she probably isn’t. But I don’t think she’ll meet us on Duxn.” She sighed. “This is our last best effort to save what’s left of the Order. I just hope that I can convince Bastila to turn on Atris... and that she hasn’t turned Brianna on me.”

Genda raised his hand. “Excuse me, but what happens if this... Atris tries to do the same to you that she did to your group?”

She smiled. “Don’t Worry. We’ll be safe on Dxun.”

----------

----------

“I don’t know if it was fate or an extraordinary coincidence that I found you just days before all this was supposed to begin. I’m sorry that I don’t allow you two time to adjust, but there are more important matters happening than you realize. There is more left of the Jedi Order than I realized that it might yet be saved.” She sighed. “The problem we face is that Atris is the only remaining member of the High Council, but she has committed acts that violated the relationship between her and her followers.
The other Jedi likely don’t know and all I have is a confession, so I’m not going to be able to prove her treachery.”

“What exactly did Atris do? You seem very uncomfortable when I speak of her.”

She sighed and looked away. “Atris had offended me on a personal level a number of times. There came a time when she even tried to kill me... we fought, but I easily disarmed her... she begged for mercy... Despite everything she had done, Jedi don’t kill those who surrender or execute their prisoners.”

“But she tried to kill you. You had every right to kill her. Mercy is a weakness enemies don’t share.”

Alayna nodded. “That’s what made us different. It’s what separated me from her.” Tears started forming, but had not yet streamed down her cheeks. “Would you have killed Tashi if she tried to kill you?”

She turned away from him, but Genda stepped back into her sight. “Was she that dear to you? Was she your friend?”

She shook her head. “Not Atris. I valued something that meant more to me than my own life... just as you did when you went back for Tashi. Please tell me; if she had tried to kill you, would you have mercilessly killed a loved one?”

Genda paused for a long moment. “If she tried, then she would no longer have...” He couldn’t complete ‘loved me’ because that moment in itself was almost like an attack to him. Remembering it brought almost spontaneous weeping.

Alayna, seeing her son in pain, forgot about her own... all she had lost because she had allowed Atris to live only to destroy it all. She wiped away her own tears and tried to comfort him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply anything... just that you’re much like a Jedi. You value something more than yourself...”

He shook his head erratically with no words. She guided him to sit on one of the beds. She sat next to him for what was only their second heart-to-heart talk She already thought it as natural to be there for him, but he was not accustomed to having someone to lean upon. Even Tashi had only been with him for a year and a half, but he felt he could talk to her about anything... except for what was troubling him at that moment.

Alayna tried to comfort him, but it was harder for Genda to accept than it was for her to give. She hadn’t seen him since he was born, but she felt as though she’d always known him. She had only just entered his world. “What is it? You can tell me.”

As a gladiator, Genda was taught to conceal pain, but his tears were of a nature not as familiar to him. He did make friends among fellow gladiators, but quickly learned the folly of getting to know men doomed to die. Tashi was not only the first person Genda knew he could depend on, but that he didn’t have to worry about losing. Although the incident with Faso ended that belief, the provision of their freedom reestablished that belief almost as strong as before... he didn’t expect her to say that she didn’t have the same feelings for him.

Alayna, knowing he was very sensitive to the subject, suggested the next logical person for him to speak with. “Alright. If something is troubling you, I think you can share it with Tashi. You’re not alone.”

When she stood up to leave, he extended his arm to her shoulder. He didn’t say anything for a long moment, but she waited for him to speak. “Mother... when you spared that Atris after she tried to kill you... if you had known what she was going to do... how can you still not think mercy is a weakness?”

She looked him right in the eye. “Everyone is capable of change. Some of my closest friends, including one of Atris’ latest victims, had done terrible deeds; but they eventually turned their lives around. I didn’t spare her because I thought she could change, but because I didn’t have the right to punish her.”

He stood up. “It wasn’t revenge I was talking about, I meant neutralizing a threat before she could be allowed to do more damage.”

“Atris was broken; she was no longer a threat. Clearly I was wrong about her. But if the Jedi killed everyone such as Atris, others such as Atton Rand, Yuthura Ban, Revan... even I would be among the dead.”

He stared for a long while before realizing that he had his own crimes to pay for... life was much more complicated than he ever imagined. He started moving to the doorway. “If someone tries to kill you, then they are no longer your friend. If they try to use that friendship against you, then it never meant anything to begin with.”

As he tried to leave, Alayna knew he was hiding something. “Something is troubling you. I’ve noticed that you two have been avoiding each other. I would normally respect your privacy, but given the situation you’re both in... why aren’t you with each other?”

-------

Eventually, Alayna managed to bring the two together for a serious conversation on their future. Before they did, Alayna and Tashi had to confront another conflict...

“Ever since you took us away from Sleheyron, you have made me feel as though I were holding him back. You spoke of how he had to choose between his future and his personal feelings. I was just trying to make the choice easier for him.”

“I wish that you had spoken to me before you acted upon what I said. There is nothing wrong with having strong feelings for another; it’s losing that person which is at issue.” Alayna turned around and collected her thoughts. “I see the way you two look at each other. I just have one question.” She turned back to face Tashi. “Were you honest with Genda about your feelings? If I had not shown myself, would you have inevitably been estranged?”

Tashi remained silent for a long moment as she thought of the events in the last week. She knew her feelings before, but as Genda no longer had to fight for his life each week, she now had to consider that she had a future. She never expected that they could’ve been together for a lifetime, but as the situation changed, Tashi was conflicted with making a choice. She shook her head. “I don’t want him to be tethered to me. I care for Genda and could not ask him to sacrifice even more for me.” She sighed. “Why won’t you help him become a Jedi if he loves me?”

“Learning to use the Force comes at a high price. Strong emotional bonds are fraught with powerful emotions, which impairs a Jedi’s ability to use the Force.” Alayna paused and saw that it was discombobulating for Tashi to hear about emotion from a mother speaking on behalf of her son. “I suppose that that if I tell you that Jedi are not allowed to fall in love or have families, it must seem hypocritical that I have a son.”

“It had crossed my mind.” She replied softly.

“Well during the Mandalorian Wars, I’ve always kept my feelings in check. I made a mistake and he suffered because of it.” She sighed and diverted her attention away from Tashi. “Can I ask you something? You’ve had children before... you know more about what it means to be a mother.”

Tashi shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know how much help I can be to you. I really wasn’t a mother... my children were the property of my master, so I did little more than raise them over the first few years until they were old enough to be sold.”

Alayna sighed. “That must have been painful for you... having your children taken away like that.”

Tashi shook her head. “Yeah, it’s difficult to let go, but it’s almost like a rite of passage for them. It’s when they’ve grown up... when they do, I could at least take comfort in knowing that I did my part for each one of them.” She smiled. “I didn’t get to see any of them when they’ve grown up, but I at least know that they have their own lives and I fulfilled my obligation to all of them.” Tashi began to remember the twins she carried only a week ago. “All except Genda’s.”

Alayna laid her hand upon Tashi’s shoulder. “We’ll get them back. All we have to do is keep track of them and when Faso the Hutt intends to sell them, I will pay whatever he wants for them.”

Tashi shook her head. “It’s not that simple. Faso will demand a fortune if he intends to sell them at all. The reason he’s so interested in them is because they are Genda’s offspring. He will likely demand at least 50,000 credits each. Do you even have that much money?”

Alayna stared at Tashi with awe. “Why would anyone spend that much for a slave?”

“Not just any slaves. Faso once said that Genda made him hundreds of thousands of credits in the gladiatorial arena. Our children are ‘champion bred’ gladiators and they will not be easy to buy back.” She let her head lean back and hit the bulkhead behind her. “I’ve accepted that they’re lost to us. Best thing would be to just forget them. All that matters to me is that Genda is safe and I’d make the same sacrifice again if I had to.”

Alayna gave her a sympathetic stare. “He loves you. He was very saddened to hear about the children, but not because they were lost to you.” When Tashi focused her attention back on Alayna, she finished her statement. “He wanted children more than anything, but only to share the experience with you. He thought that you wanted that as well.”

Tashi sat down on the floor and curled against the bulkhead behind her. “He is a very strange man. He defied the odds all his life and fought all his life to be free. When he finally had it, he didn’t just run away; he came back for me. Now that he has this rare opportunity to become something truly great... to become powerful enough to stop individuals like Faso... he wants to sacrifice it all for me again.” She started crying and looked up to Alayna. “I don’t want him to give that all up for me. That is why he is so upset... because I won’t let him throw his life away for me.”

Alayna sat on the floor right next to the former slave and wrapped her arms around her knees. “I had already made my decision about Genda. As much as I would’ve wanted to train him, I’ve come to accept that it would simply be better for everyone that he... and you just have a normal life. He’s gone 18 years without ever knowing me...” She blinked back tears. “I know you were just trying to do what’s best for him, but becoming a Jedi may no longer be open to him.”

“You haven’t even tried.”

Alayna sighed and looked Tashi in the eye. “I can’t risk it. He has only just begun to discover his power, but if I were to help him discover his true potential, it would pose a danger both to himself and to others. For his sake, it would be best to just leave his latent Force abilities dormant.”

Tashi hung her head in sadness. “Was it my fault that this happened?”

“No one’s at fault here... if anything, it’s mine. The Jedi way involves not forming attachments to others, not breaking those that already exist. What Genda’s going through right... he is feeling very hurt and almost betrayed. Believe me when I tell you that this is better than needlessly severing your ties with one another.”

Tashi blinked back tears and looked into Alayna’s eyes. “So you’re alright with... me?”

Alayna gave her the nicest smile she could. “I could think of no one I’d rather have... that is if you wish to be with him.”

Tashi smiled as tears of joy streamed down her cheeks. “Thank-you.”

Alayna didn’t understand what Tashi was thanking her for, but she just smiled back to not ruin that tender moment. Shortly after that, she informed Genda of her decision and Tashi that her feelings for him were genuine. Although he was disappointed that he wouldn’t be a Jedi, he was more jubilant to have Tashi. This time, it was by her choice.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 02-10-2009 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:22 AM   #32
Rev7
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Yay a new chapter!!

I liked it a lot. Lots of emotion. I am looking forward to reading more!

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Old 02-10-2009, 12:53 PM   #33
Darth_Yuthura
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Anyone have any comments on the HK-47 scene? I thought it was a great way to show just how much that droid hated his master and that he would do anything to not be under Alayna's control. I also have realized that I don't have Visas in much of the next two chapters, but I'm going to try gravitating around individual characters for blocks of the story and try to keep a balance. Although Genda (with Tashi along with him) has been the primary character, I am going to use others as they enter the story.

I am also going to emphasize what Tashi said about being a mother and letting her children go. Alayna will have something like this to deal with later on.

I know that I still have past-tense errors, so don't think I haven't noticed. Any errors you see aside from name misspellings would be appreciated.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:47 PM   #34
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meh, how do i say this without sounding like an ass....
I kind of feel like the story is getting stale. I understand the dialogue and char dev is important but having the story move forward abit would be nice. Starting to get a tad bit boring to me personally.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:01 PM   #35
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This is not exactly going to be action-packed, but I will have some chapters that are for the sake of enriching the story. The next chapter will be a story progressor, but it will have another intense emotional scene and the one after that will have one more conflict before the story really takes off.

I might have been able to skip this chapter, but I wanted to show in two or three chapters how a distant mother and son become reunited and can't really postpone it for later. There will be a real issue in regards to Genda not accepting Alayna's judgement in the next two chapters(a subplot in comparison to Duxn).

I do have a plot in mind, but need to deal with certain character development first; otherwise, I'd integrate it into later chapters. I'll try and avoid letting the story stagnate again like this.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 02-11-2009 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:56 PM   #36
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Chapter 9: The Mandalorians

This doesn't progress the story significantly beyond the conversation between Mandalore, Alayna, and Visas. I agree that I haven't been progressing the story very quickly and will try to get more in with fewer words, but this is a conflict with Genda and Alayna that I wanted to expand upon. After that, I'll try to get it on the move. Thanks for reading.

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Dxun was the jungle world where remnants of the Mandalorian Empire have united under the standard of Mandalore. Although their numbers still measured in the thousands, Alayna remembered a time when there were only dozens. Although they fought to the death with one another for most of their history, both the Mandalorians and the Jedi maintained a weak, but stable alliance.

Alayna couldn’t escape the irony of two powerful dominions such as the Mandalorian Empire and the Jedi Order shatter only a few years apart. Although 20 years was an insignificant span of galactic time, Alayna remembered a time of relative peace that was destroyed when the one responsible for both devastations rose to power; the Jedi, Revan. Ironically, he was also the one that united the efforts of those longtime enemies.

Alayna slowly walked down the boarding ramp to be greeted by several Mandalorians. They were armed with blaster rifles, not simply for ceremonial purposes, but because they rarely walked without their weapons at hand. One figure stood out by his metallic armour, not adjunct with special designations or color. The helmet he wore was the symbol that allowed him to rally so many followers so quickly. Although she couldn’t see his face, Alayna knew it was still Canderous who wore the helmet. Few knew his real name, but even Alayna had to address him as Mandalore, like everyone else.

Alayna had Visas standing beside, but slightly behind her as the Mandalore greeted them. “It has been some time Jedi.”

“Yes it has.” She glanced in the direction of the new settlements in the distance. “I see you’ve been gathering followers since last we spoke.”

He sighed through his vocabulator. “That as may be, it’s still not a tenth the number who are still selling out their service as mercenaries. As dishonorable that is, we cannot afford to slay everyone who turns their back on us. Maybe with you around, things may change for the better.”

Alayna made a sound of acknowledgment. Genda and Tashi stood at the edge of the ramp as to not set foot on Duxun’s soil. She turned around to introduce them. “Visas, I assume your men will give her and my passengers the same respect they would me.”

“I want to make something clear to you, Jedi: respect is not given. It must be earned. We will provide protection so long as all your... guests stay within the boarders of the citadel. If they leave, they do so at their own risk and we are not obligated to save them if they are foolish. In addition, they will also have to provide for themselves or work for their provisions. Is that understood?”

Alayna crossed her arms. “These two are not Jedi and I would like them placed under your protection. If anything happens to them, I will hold you personally responsible.”

“And another thing: I’m the boss here, not you. For having your little Jedi-get-together, my debt to you has been paid. If you want these two safe, you shouldn’t have brought them to Dxun.”

Genda came up from behind and touched Alayna’s shoulder to get her attention. “It’s alright. I can watch out for both of us. Or we can stay with the ship.”

Alayna turned her attention back to Canderous. “Could you at least give them an escort to show them where to restrict their activities if they wish to look around?”

Canderous sighed again and turned his attention to another Mandalorian. “I assume you two know your way around. Dragus will show you two the areas where our boarders are secure, but there are places that are not safe from the wildlife on this moon. If you should encounter a beast...”

“I know. Bomas are attracted to loud noises. Zalgeths react to movement. Any others I should know about?” Genda finished.

They both turned to Genda, Alayna the more surprised of the two. “How much do you know about Dxun?”

“Only about some of the creatures. Not much more.” Genda answered.

Tashi got in front of him. “There are fierce animals here?”

Dragus took over. “Almost everything about this moon is deadly. In the settlement, you’re safe from the vegetation, but you’ll have to still watch out for beasts. If one should penetrate our boarders, we will deal with them. Otherwise, stay as far away, or you’ll either be dinner or infected with disease.” He gestured for them to follow.

Genda looked to Alayna and she nodded. “If you want to stay on the ship, but you can stay in relative safety with the Mandalorians if you wish.”

Dragus waved them to follow. “Follow me.”

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In the primary war room, Mandalore, Alayna, and Visas gathered to speak for the first time since they parted company six years earlier. In the years afterward, Alayna and Visas found many Mandalorians who were told of the settlement on Dxun and the establishment of a new Mandalore. Those that didn’t believe a Jedi were directly confronted by Mandalore himself. Those that still fought for honor returned with him. Those that didn’t were simply left to their activities.

Although Alayna had opened communications with Mandalore in the last few days, they did not directly establish a two-way conversation. For her services to the Mandalorians, Mandalore agreed to allow Alayna to organize a Jedi conclave on Dxun in the hope of uniting any surviving Jedi under one standard.

--------

“So you just, without any idea where to start, decided to go out and search for Revan? Did you find anything at all?”

Alayna sighed and nodded. “We even know where he and the True Sith are. The problem is we can’t get to them.” Alayna and Visas took a moment to sit down. Mandalore knew she was going to explain why, so he didn’t ask. “I’m convinced that the True Sith are concentrated in the Abyss nebula.”

“The Abyss?” He scoffed. “So much for that.”

“Well the nebula is navigable, but the range of sensors are so limited that it would take centuries to survey it if there are indeed worlds among the ionized gasses.”

“Even if there were, how could any be habitable? There are no stars, let alone planets.” Mandalore stated.

“I don’t know. We discovered an unusual planet orbiting a white dwarf star at the outskirts of the nebula.”

“Narayan? Yes, that world was one we conquered at one time. It was inhabitable, but it couldn’t have received enough light from its star to support life. There were also some strange citadels that were made of a seemingly indestructible material. My people tried to determine what it was about them that we could duplicate for our armour, but we couldn’t so much as analyze their properties.”

Visas continued. “It was the atmosphere of that planet that seemed to baffle us more. It supports life such as ours, but it receives much of its energy from the nebula. Unlike a star, the energy from the Abyss nebula significantly fluctuates and should have periodically suffered mass extinctions.”

“Well that’s all fine and interesting, but what does that have to do with Revan?” Canderous mocked.

“Those structures you spoke of are made from dark Force energy, but it has not corrupted the native inhabitants. We believe that they are what maintain the environment on that world. If that is so, then it could mean there are other planets within the nebula as well... planets that don’t orbit any stars, yet can sustain life.”

“So what does that mean for us?”

Alayna shrugged her shoulders. “I have no idea. We couldn’t just dive in without any orientation. We studied the temples on Narayan, but could not learn anything that would suggest how to proceed. Over the last two years, we’ve been following whatever leads we could to try and find Revan instead, but he doesn’t want to be found and we hit another dead end.”

“Great. You know where the True Sith are, but they’re in a place you can’t reach. Revan knows the way in, but he is inside and didn’t even bother to tell us how to follow. For one as brilliant as Revan, he is just as foolish.”

Alayna leaned her head back. “We have done everything we could to find the source of the threat, but I decided that if we couldn’t do any more good trying to learn of our enemy; the only option I saw we had was to come back and help fortify the Republic as much as possible until I see reason to return to the Outer Rim.”

He nodded. “Well I can’t confirm anything about an attack on Dantooine, but I have not heard from any of your friends for some time. In the times that I did, things weren’t going so smoothly for them. I’ve also been aware of other Jedi across the Galaxy not associated with your group. I’ve also contacted the settlement on Dantooine and they say the Enclave was vacant... not that it was destroyed.”

“I don’t believe a Jedi would resort to an orbital assault. Was there any sign of an attack?“ Visas asked.

“Hey, if you want to see it for yourself, then go there. No one goes into that facility anymore.” Mandalore suggested.

“Alright. The point is that all we have accomplished for the Jedi has been torn down again. If there are any other survivors, we must all unite for the same cause and do whatever we can to regroup and decide how to proceed.”

Mandalore crossed his arms. “Are you sure this is worth your effort? I found that most Jedi are too rigid and not likely to deviate from your traditions... your rules... I think you’d have more trouble getting other Jedi to back your cause than just training new members.”

“Maybe. But I think that with the majority of the Council dead and so few of us remaining, they will have to realize that we must not rebuild the Order, but establish a new one completely. Many of the survivors abandoned the Order in the first place because they did not believe in what they represented. In creating a new Order, it will be us, its founding members, shaping it rather than forcing members to follow a rigid set of rules that lead to the destruction of the original.” Alayna explained.

“How do you expect that they will follow you? You are not regarded much higher than Revan most other Jedi, I’ve heard.”

“It won’t be me...” She turned and got right in front of Mandalore. “We need an arbitrator for this... I want you to be that leader.”

“Me?”

“Yes. You’ve got no stake in what we, the Jedi establish for this new Order. All that matters to you is that it is in both our interests to work together and a united group of Jedi survivors is your goal. That way, there would be no prejudice against anyone else. I and Visas would back you and hopefully, others would be willing to do so as well.” Alayna explained.

Mandalore was so surprised by the gesture that he spent several moments pacing around before turning around to face Alayna. “I don’t know how to handle Jedi even...”

“I would help you with that. I just need you to be a neutral party of which the others could follow. I’m not that person. Revan could have been, but not me. I want it to be you.”

Mandalore looked at Alayna for a long time before looking to Visas, remembering when the three of them were on the Ravenger; saving Telos. It seemed so long ago, yet the Galaxy was almost exactly where it was then, aside from the size of his army multiplying by a hundred times... significant to him, but still less than a hundredth the number Mandalore, the Ultimate once commanded. At that point, he was willing to take all the help he could get and agreed.

----------

Tashi and Genda walked alongside each other whenever they could, but most often having to walk single-file as Dragus lead them down some very narrow trails. He showed them the boarders of the security network where a force field could easily kill them if they wandered into it by accident.

Tashi often asked Genda about the kind of creatures he’s faced in the arena, but he focused his advice more on how to avoid them. She didn’t like constantly being reminded that she was expected to run if they were in danger while he would likely have run in the opposite direction. She knew not to go against his advice, but wished he would follow the same advice he gave to her.

At some point in the ‘tour,’ the three of them came into view of the battle circle. When Genda asked about how the Mandalorians trained, Dragus said it was open only to ‘real’ warriors and that few humans could challenge a Mandalorian hand-to-hand.

“But you’re half-Mandalorian. Surly you...” Tashi said before being shushed by Genda.

After a moment of being stared at by Dragus, he finally spoke. “Traditionally, we’ve discouraged inter-species mating, but because there are so few of us; any descendant of a Mandalorian is welcome to join us. As far as Mandalore is concerned, they are every bit a warrior as those with pure Mandalorian blood.”

“You don’t sound convinced.” Genda inferred.

Dragus hesitated to answer. “There are many who don’t agree with Mandalore. There is debate as to whether those with thinning blood become inferior with each generation, or they simply weren’t brought up as warriors like we have. If you are Mandalorian, you would be accepted, but don’t expect welcome from many.”

Tashi was very saddened to hear that. “Are you considering living with these people?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. I never really considered anywhere.”

Dragus suggested “If you were to prove yourself a warrior, that might earn respect, despite your bloodline. We respect strength, skill, and cunning more than anything else.” He gestured. “Why don’t you take part in the battle circle?”

Genda watched two Mandalorians fighting with different kinds of weapons... one melee and one blaster. “Tell me about this... is it training or a fight to the death?”

“It is forbidden to kill or seriously injure an opponent within the Battle Circle. It is meant to provide the best of what you get in battle, but nothing beyond training is allowed. Once an opponent steps out of the circle or surrenders, the match ends. Each battle depends upon what the opponents agree to before they even enter the circle. The challenger chooses the conditions and the one being challenged chooses the weapons.”

Genda looked to Tashi, who had never seen him train in the last year. “I guess I could see how well that goes.”

“There is no dishonor if you should stand down, but the sooner in battle you do, the less respect you’ll get; just don’t push yourself beyond your limits. You must also abide by the rules, or you will dishonor yourself and will be banned from the circle if you use an illegal weapon, don’t honor your opponent's surrender, or if you bring severe harm to your opponent inside or outside the circle. The only purpose is for training and we all must honor that tradition. Do you understand?”

“That’s all?” Genda asked.

Dragus gestured them to follow. “That is all, but there is nothing less than what I’ve told you. If you don’t abide by that, you are not allowed to enter the circle. Mistakes happen, but this is meant to allow battle under strict regulations so that both can train without fear of death or injury. We hold that in the highest regard.”

Genda smiled a little. On Sleheyron, the training was not anything like the arena, but it was not meant to suit each gladiator. Although there were deaths on rare occasion, there were often injuries that required medical attention long before they actually were treated.

Tashi was curious as to what he was going to face, but because he wanted to train, there wasn’t that much fear. She did have reservations about him facing Mandalorians, but she believed he had to be very capable. She didn’t believe many Mandalorians could have been able to fight as many times as Genda in the arena and still live. She was anxious, but didn’t say anything while Genda waited his turn.

When the next match was over, Dragus spoke with the sergeant of the battle circle, Bendeck, who approached Genda. Genda was shorter than the average Mandalorian, so just Bendeck’s height would have been intimidating enough, but Genda knew by his tone that he was disliked. “A half Mandalorian? If you are to participate in the battle circle, you are going to go up against veterans of the Mandalorian Wars. Are you prepared to do battle and abide by the rules we stated?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “How do I start?”

“I would suggest you start with Jarva. He’s our youngest and least experienced recruit, but he’s just a boy. If you wish want to start with an official participant, you could start out as a challenger.”

“Okay... how do I make a challenge?” Genda asked.

“You just make the challenge... Scroggins!” He shouted. From the crowd of faceless warriors came one wearing yellow armour. “Would you accept a challenge from this newcomer?”

“Why me?”

“You were the first name on the top of my head with some measure of honor.” He faced Genda. “Scroggins is about your age; do you want to make a challenge?”

“Alright, let’s start.” Genda said.

“Then we’ll fight with just fist and foot. Nothing else.”

“Just fist and foot! Scroggins verses...” He faced the challenger. "Name?"

“Genda.”

“Scroggins challenged by Genda! Step into the battle circle!”

Genda did as he was told, but he started slipping off his fiber armour vest as Scroggins got in a defensive stance. When the sergeant shouted them to begin, Genda shouted “Hold! Let me remove my armour.”

Bendeck stated “Armour is always permitted.”

Genda turned his attention from Scroggins to Bendeck. “If we’re wearing armour, then what’s the point?”

Scroggins made his complaint known. “What’s wrong? Are you looking for an excuse to get out of the battle circle? Just say so.”

Genda had turned around again to examine the thick armour suit Scroggins wore. As with all Mandalorians, he had on so much protection that it hardly seemed possible to be hurt by any kind of unarmed combat. Genda's vest provided excellent ballistic protection for its weight, but was hardly a match for what a standard Mandalorian wore. And since he always wore that armour in the arena, Genda refastened the vest piece and made the challenge first “Defend yourself!”

He went for Scroggins and the two collided with each other; Genda lowered himself to grab his opponent’s legs. Scroggins had been running fast enough that he was tripped up and fell onto his chest. Genda pivoted off his knee and landed on top of his enemy to grab a leg with one arm and a shoulder with the other. Despite being pinned, Scroggins resisted. “Stay down! Stay down!”

After a few seconds, Bendeck shouted the match had ended in favor of Genda. “That is why armour is not restricted. You always make a sacrifice in speed and agility as you wear heavier protection. In defeating Scroggins, you have earned a small measure of honor.” He gestured two more combatants to enter the circle and for the last two to leave. “Next challenge is Bralor challenged by Thayer.”

Genda addressed Bendeck once he was out of the circle “I’d like to challenge Bralor after this.”

“Bralor is a champion of a previous day. He and most others would be too much for you to handle anyway. Just find someone and ask them... don’t come to me every time you need someone to hold your hand.”

Genda didn’t appreciate the comment and his ego got the better of him. Before he could talk back, Tashi grabbed his shoulder and he stopped there. When the two were out of earshot of the others, he complained to her. “This is unbelievable! They think of me as inferior, yet they don’t have the courage to fight me on equal terms!”

“Calm down. That was just one fight... and you won.”

He sighed and nodded. “I’m sorry. I guess that I’ve just gotten used to being treated with respect back on Sleheyron. No one would have talked to me like that.” He exhaled deeply. “Now I’m just going to be like everyone else again.”

Tashi knew that Genda was not saddened due to the other Mandalorians, but by his rejection as a Jedi. “Don’t you remember when you were in public’s eyes all the time? You were put up against impossible odds because you were a celebrity... you hated it.”

“Yes, it would have been nice... then.” He turned his attention to the opening, where untouched jungle grew beyond the force field. “You know a month ago, if I knew we would be standing here, free... nothing would have made me happier. Now I feel... small.”

She stared for a long moment before rubbing the side of his face. “But don’t you feel at least that much better to have your freedom again? I know you’ve wanted that more than anything. Is a ‘normal’ life really so bad?”

He sighed. “A normal life? A Jedi is as far beyond a normal life as a normal life is beyond that of a gladiator. As great it is to be free again, I cannot help wondering how much more I could have been if she had...” Genda said with anger becoming more apparent.

“So you can’t levitate objects. As remarkable as that was, what’s there to miss?”

He shook his head. “It wasn’t like that. In that moment...” He extended his hand out towards a vibrosword laying in the grass nearby. “...it felt like I transcended something. When I held that grenade in the air, it wasn’t thought, but something else entirely.”

“The Force?”

He nodded as he continued trying to move the sword with a power he couldn’t influence. “In that moment... it was like something opened itself to me. It was like I could feel the world around me like I felt my body.”

“Do you have any idea how strange that sounds?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I know how it may seem, but I felt as though my body was just a part of something much greater. I could feel you, the droid as it moved to try and kill you. I could even feel Faso somewhere in the palace, his guards, and... the more I lost myself to it, the more I felt I could control it all.”

Tashi stared, smiling at him as if mesmerized. “That must have been some vision.”

“It wasn’t a vision. It was like...” He sighed. “There is nothing I can compare it to. Nothing I’ve ever experienced was like that moment when I destroyed those droids. All I know is whatever it was, it felt... wonderful.”

Tashi didn’t know anything about the Force, but what Genda described sounded like a drug or pleasure. A part of her felt sorry that Alayna would not train him to use such power, but another was relieved that he would not become any more than ‘just a man.’ The more popular he became on Sleheyron, the less comfortable it was to be in his presence. As their future took shape, Tashi realized that what may have been best for him conflicted with what she wanted. Being a slave all her life, Tashi was not used to believing what she wanted mattered to anyone... even herself. All she felt she could do was let events unfold as they had to.

When Genda dropped his arm after not moving the sword, Tashi rubbed his shoulders to comfort his sense of loss. Before she could speak, a Mandalorian came up from behind them. “You said you wanted to challenge me?”

Genda turned around to see Bralor had an interest in him. “I don’t mean to... I just wanted to see how I compared to a full-blooded Mandalorian. Dragus said that I might earn their respect if I fought in the Battle Circle.”

“That may be true, but one could just as easily be dishonored or laughed upon. We believe you earn honor through battle... risking your life to fight for a greater purpose. The battle circle only earns serious respect if you have actually participated in battle and if you beat champions of previous days. Many here have the skills to fight, but have not yet tasted real battle. That is why we have two levels of champions; one is of those who mastered the skills for war, but are not honored as champions. The other is for those who have proven themselves when they did not know whether they would come back after a real battle. You may find some of our most skilled fighters forget their training and become scared when they see live shots meant for them.”

“I know what you mean. You can’t put much faith in a raw recruit, even if they seem capable. Some never get used to the actual thing. The best way to overcome that is to make them feel just as important as the other members of the group. When their lives are in danger, they just do whatever they can to stay alive. If they see a friend in danger, some throw themselves in the line of danger. It’s not courage so much as fear of being branded a coward by their friends, but it’s just as admirable.”

Bralor nodded. “If you want to prove yourself in the battle circle, just wait for your chance to accept a challenge when it’s offered. After that very brief fight of yours, you’ve shown that you are skilled. Odds are that others will challenge you the more times you prove yourself in the circle. The more challenges you get, the more often you can choose the weapons or conditions to your favor. You will not get respect for beating just one champion, but working your way up the chain. Just be patient.”

He nodded. “Thanks. I will. How far up the chain are you?”

“I’m a champion. You won’t get the chance to face me or others who have actually been in battle unless you’ve fought and proven yourself a champion of a previous day... that’s the official title you get.”

Tashi addressed Bralor. “Genda has already been through that... many times. Does that mean he’s already a ‘champion of a previous day’?”

“The conditions needed for the title are very strict. The conditions are that another champion who had witnessed you fight and believes you are worthy of the title has to verify your deeds. That I’m afraid isn’t flexible. We honor the traditions of separating trainees from veterans of war.”

Genda crossed his arms and stared walking away before Tashi held him back. “I assure you that he is more than worthy. Please just give him a chance.”

“I’m not calling you a liar, but our traditions are very strict. Unless you can find a champion who would sponsor you, you can only fight our recruits.” He looked around to see no one was watching. He then moved to Genda’s ear. “I think it might interest you to know that the Jedi you came with is a champion. She might be willing to sponsor you... if she finds you worthy.”

Genda’s face lit up with expectation. “Thanks for telling me.”

“Just be careful. You shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew. You could easily embarrass yourself if you challenge someone you can’t beat. I would suggest you fight and earn the honor you need from recruits so you can call the weapons and conditions. Otherwise, you will always fight on the champion’s terms.”

Genda smiled. “Thank-you. I’ll do that.”

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Genda had taken on several Mandalorian recruits with varying degrees of success. Some matches were quick, but others were difficult because Genda had never faced an opponent with a melee shield. The match was for no restrictions on weapons or items, so Genda was perplexed when he saw a deflector screen that didn’t allow his vibrosword to come down upon his opponent.

The same screen that prevented physical objects from hitting the wearer only distributed the force of impacts to a wider degree than armor. To follow the user’s movement, projectors were placed all alone the body armour, but didn’t allow for use of the wrist or fingers for a vibroweapon. There was enough room open at the hands to permit a blaster pistol within the shield, but nothing that could extend beyond, so Genda’s opponent could not use a melee weapon with the shield on.

When he raised his stun blaster to hit Genda, the Mandalorian just stood in one place to get a clear shot. Genda had taken a hit to the chest, but his armour reduced the intensity of the painful blast significantly. When he swung the sword to find the shield protected against solid matter, Genda was surprised by what he was up against. Before the opponent could fire again, Genda hit the arm with the blaster away and the shield could not distribute the impact enough to throw off his aim.

The flaw with melee shields was that in order to not restrict a soldier’s dexterity, it could not distribute force any better than if he wore armour. The emitters at the wrist and elbow took the impact of Genda’s sword and the Mandalorian couldn’t get a clear shot. He attempted to punch Genda with the other hand, but Genda took the blows of the shield better than if it were a fist; yet he kept the sight of the gun from finding his body.

When Genda realized that the shield didn’t extend over the Mandalorian’s feet, Genda started attacking them. Stepping on one foot and swinging his sword for the other startled the Mandalorian and he ended up backing out of bounds of the Battle Circle.

When Bendeck called the battle in Genda’s favor, he sounded as though genuinely stating victory was Genda’s. “That was an excellent match. It is highly discouraged to leave the Battle Circle or to throw your opponent out, but getting him to step out of bounds on his own earned you many points. I must say that you did well against our recruits. You may choose to challenge others again, but you won’t earn any more honor unless you fight a champion of a previous day.”

“Why don’t recruits train against Champions, if I may ask?”

“That only applies to the Battle Circle. You may do so at any time, but no one who hasn’t tasted battle are qualified to earn further honor through the Battle Circle. When a Champion is willing sponsor you, then you may do so. Until then, you have done well this day.”

Genda smiled and felt better than he had when he started. It was getting late that day, but Tashi watched him from the sideline. She smiled when he left the Battle Circle with a smile on his face. “You hear that? It sounded to me like respect.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, I must admit I feel a little better knowing that I wasn’t just the champion on Sleheyron because of my blood. I guess I was expecting to be beaten once or twice.”

“You haven’t been yet. That’s great.”

He shook his head. “There’s one thing that comes from having a perfect record; each victory gets harder because you know it’s only a matter of time before you’re beaten. I was expecting to be defeated at least once to end the suspense.”

Alayna had watched the last fight from another location and came up from behind. “How about now? I must say that I never really thought about how skilled you were.”

Genda turned around, still bitter at Alayna for her latest judgment of not training him to use the Force. “Yeah, I often have thought of my potential and wondered how much more I could have been.”

She looked at him with sympathy in her expression. “Do you think I enjoyed making that call any more than you did to hear it?”

“Let’s just say I have trouble understanding your intentions. You said you wanted to take responsibility as my mother, yet you deny me this? I’m sorry, but you have a long way to go before you can say you’ve done your best.”

Tashi tried to comfort Genda, but Alayna replied before that. “Genda... being a Jedi is not always the gift everyone assumes. With great power comes great responsibility. Training to use the Force also comes with great sacrifice.”

“Why won’t you let me even try? If I can’t do it, then I’ll not bring it up again, but please don’t just tell me ‘no’ and not even explain why.”

Alayna looked down as if too ashamed to repeat what had already been said before. Then she thought of something that might have explained a lot without the need for an explanation. “Let me take you back to the ship. I have something to show you.”

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 02-16-2009 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:58 PM   #37
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Chapter 9: Part 2

Yes, I needed two post for this. I write too much.

----------

When she and Genda gathered in the Ebon Hawk’s cargo hold with T3, Tashi agreed to let them have some privacy. “T3, please show the recording of my trial.”

Genda looked to the holo image light up before facing Alayna. “Your trial?”

“Yes. The Force has wondrous possibilities, but it also has an ugly side that few consider. I can’t really justify why I deny it to you, but... I hope that you can... understand my reason a little better by knowing more of the events that lead to your conception.”

“I was born because of this?”

“Please... just watch.”

The holo projector showed the members of the High Council and then showed a much younger Alayna enter the field. Genda noticed that Alayna had a look about her that was not present on the woman in the recording. “You...? You look different somehow.”

“I’ve just had my connection to the Force severed. I was devastated, broken, and suffering terribly. When one becomes dependent on the Force, losing it can be a fate worse than death.”

In the recording, Master Vrook began by calling the woman in the recording ‘Alexandra.’ When Genda looked to her, she talked over the recording. “That was my name once. After this, I wanted nothing of that life or myself. I also had made many enemies and didn’t want anyone to find me. I have considered taking it back, but have come to accept my new name and didn’t want any memories of the times before this took place.”

They watched as she went back and forth with each Council member, Alayna explaining everything that Genda wouldn’t have known when she felt it was important for him to understand. As the recording began to draw to its close, Alexandra began to show desperation and panic as the Council drew closer to giving their verdict. “Please! I was just trying to save as many lives as possible. I was wrong... and I have come to beg your forgiveness.”

“You only returned to have us heal your connection to the Force. There is no other reason.” Vrook said.

“No... yes. But I would have returned anyway to face your judgment.” Alexandra answered.

Alayna spoke to Genda. “I was lying when I said I was wrong to go to war. I would have confessed to anything just so they would help me. They couldn’t tell, but I would have returned, if only to explain that I defied them for a just reason.”

“Are they... did they help you?”

Alayna just stared at the projection of her in tears, feeling that way every time she watched the recording, but having shed all the tears she had long ago. Genda could see the look in her that she had 18 years ago, but she answered. “No.”

Just that one word and how she said it gave Genda a much greater understanding of the strength Alayna had. He felt that she had to have had a good reason for denying him the chance to be a Jedi. He turned to watch the rest of the recording as Alexandra broke down in tears. “Please! Exile me, imprison me if you must, but don’t leave me like this!”

“You’ve shut us out and now shut yourself out to the Galaxy. For your crimes, you are fortunate to be leaving here at all.”

Alayna spoke again. “I would gladly have accepted life imprisonment if they would have healed my connection to the Force. I hated them for what they did then. Two of the people here were my friends. Only one would have defended me to the end and his words helped me endure the next ten years.”

“There is one last thing: Surrender your lightsabers.” Vrook said.

“I already gave you everything I had! How dare you ask yet for more?!” Alexandra screamed.

“I didn’t value my lightsabers like some Jedi, but I would have died to keep the Council from taking them.” Alayna said.

The recording continued. “You will not carry the symbols of the Jedi away from this place. Give them up, or we will take them from you.”

Alexandra walked out of the holocamera’s range after answering that they had to stop her. When Kavar stood up, Alayna asked T3 to fast forward to the last minute. “Master Kavar was my friend and he didn’t want me to leave, but couldn’t explain why he couldn’t protect me. He said that all our long years... would I have trusted him if he said it was for a good reason. I know that we are not as close as he was to me, but I can only say that my reasons are my own. I assure you that the last thing I would want is to hurt you further... which is why I don’t want to see something like this be in your future.”

Genda stared at the hologram of Alexandra ignite her lightsabers and drive them into the center stone. “When you have healed the stone and your hearts, maybe one day, I will return.”

Alayna said one last bit about her words. “I destroyed the words ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’ for they were deprived of me that day.”

As the holo recording died out at Alayna’s request, Genda had started crying. Partly it was for his mother, but also for what had been deprived of him. She let him cry on her shoulder and held onto him. “The Force is not always the gift it is thought to be. The sadness and maybe the resent you must feel for me will pass. I’ll never get over what happened to me that day.”

“Please... I want to know what you feel. I want to have your strength.”

Alayna had heard such words before, but never did anyone say they wanted to know what she ‘feels.’ That had caught her attention. “What would you do with it? What makes you desire to have such power?”

“I want to go back and rescue our children from Faso’s possession. He would only have them fight like he had me for the entertainment of people who don’t care what happens to their slaves.”

“I can do that.” She pulled him away. “And I will... if that’s what it takes.”

He kept crying. “They’re our children. I would not entrust anyone else to bring them back safe. If they died... even if you did your best... I don’t want that to happen to you.”

“To me?”

He nodded. “If they died because of me, I would know who to blame. Tashi would know. If it were you, I might never be able to forgive you.” He shook his head. “I would not trust anyone else with the task. I am going back whether you help me or not...”

“But after that, what would you do then?”

He looked at her and then paced around the cargo compartment for a moment. “I don’t know. I was hoping to be a Jedi and serve alongside you. Whatever you do, it’s a way to use my training to stop people like Faso. I don’t want to see anyone else be deprived of their right to live... to exist.”

Alayna sighed and turned her back to Genda, hating to tell him ‘sorry’ again, but afraid of the reasons he wanted to be a Jedi. She didn’t want to upset him, but couldn’t make a false promise that would have made him more angry. “I assure you that I would gladly let you try, but you have only heard the Force briefly. When training begins, it was expected to be be completed. The older one gets, the more difficult it is to accept the ways of the Jedi.” She looked him in the eye. “If I started training you, and you couldn’t control the power of the Force, I might have no choice but to... sever your tie to the Force.”

Genda remained silent, having serious reservations. “What would that mean exactly?”

“If I did so right now, you may feel its loss, but you would hardly feel its absence because you’ve only felt it a few times. The more you feel it, the more painful it would be for you.” She held him by the shoulders. “I don’t want to be in a position where I would have to choose between my personal feelings and what I knew was right.” She turned away from him again. “I also would prefer not to be put in a position where I would have to put you into danger. The reason Jedi aren’t allowed families... it clouds judgment and impairs one’s ability to carry out their duty. I never realized how true that was until I found you. Even though I barely know you, if something happened to you, it would be difficult for me to accept. The same reason you want no one else to rescue your children... that’s the same reason I don’t want you to keep asking me to train you. If I knew beyond a shred of a doubt that you would reach that end, I would do it.”

He sighed and let his head him the bulkhead behind him.

“I’m not going to just dismiss you out of hand. I would like to know you better and see the man you have become without me. I thought that the last thing you would have wanted was to keep going into danger like you had on Sleheyron.”

He looked up. “That’s different. They would have sent me into the arena until I died. I mean to live.”

Alayna looked up to him again. “My decision stands, but I will keep an open mind about this. If I see reason to believe becoming a Jedi would be what’s best for you... I will reconsider.” Before he could say anything else, Alayna stopped his enthusiasm. “But in order for that to happen, you must not act any differently than you would if I said ‘no.’ If you try to impress me or keep asking, it won’t work. I am not looking to what you do as I am for who you are. If you act any differently, you will ultimately set yourself up for disaster. Is that understood?”

He stopped smiling and gave a clear answer. “Yes. And I will accept whatever answer you give, even if I don’t agree with it.”

She smiled. “Just be prepared that my final answer...”

He interrupted. “Is your final answer. The only way I can be a Jedi is if you decide to train me. If you don’t, I can’t change that.”

She didn’t like such cold words to end the debate, but that was exactly how it was. She nodded and went to see what the Mandalorian running to the Ebon Hawk wanted to say. She felt his presence outside over the last minute and went to the boarding ramp. When she was outside, he shouted. “Master Jedi, A message from Mandalore!”

“Go ahead.”

“A Jedi has made contact. She demands to speak to you directly.”
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:02 AM   #38
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I guess that I am a little late to comment, but I have been quite busy as of late....

I really like this previous chapter and how Genda challenged Scroggins (funny name ) to a fight in the battle circle. I think that you captured the Mandalorian mentality in this last chapter as well...how they view/treat non-Mandalorians. Very nice job DY and I will stay tuned.

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Old 03-03-2009, 10:02 AM   #39
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I've made a statement that this thread has ended. I suppose that I just had an issue, but have decided that I shouldn't just drop something for no reason.

I hope that those who have developed an interest don't stop reading. I will keep working on this.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 03-12-2009 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:33 PM   #40
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real shame ur ending this and the yuthura story. I really enjoyed reading both fics....
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