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Old 07-19-2011, 02:11 AM   #1
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All Fixed Up

Wow, I haven’t been here in a while! Kinda good to be back. Anyway, on to business.

This story is something of a follow-up to Music of the Force (takes place some thirteen to fifteen years later) and Haven (probably a week and a half after this). A word of warning to those of you who’ve read Haven: In that story, I had Arai and Ace in a ship that dramatically fell apart upon impact with the ground. Like, really bad. Two things. First, that’s really unlikely. Second, they’d need a new ship rather than being able to repair that one, and so this story idea would fail.

So now, instead of having fallen completely to pieces, it’s seriously damaged, but definitely reparable.

I also want to apologize. It's more of a chapter than a standalone story... but I can promise I'll keep going. I've reignited my interest in this one. So without further ado, my story:


All Fixed Up

Dusan Cole swore loudly as a powerful shock lanced through his hand from the bundle of wires he was working with. Yanking his hand back, he managed to bang his head against the side of the access hatch he’d crawled into. Another string of curses. At this rate, he was unlikely to get this damned ship running anytime soon. With another fierce glare at the stubbornly malfunctioning components, he crawled out of the hole, sat back against the bulkhead, and stared down into the ship’s underbelly.

“A week and a half,” he grumbled. But to Dusan “Ace” Cole, it felt like a month at least. He suspected it’d have been better if his companion, former Jedi Knight Arai Elan was up and about. In the week and a half since they’d arrived on this mysterious planet, Arai had barely been capable of speaking two words together. The landing had been hard on her, to say the least. Ace had carried her from the ship and had been extremely unwilling to let her go in the events that followed.

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

“Tired,” Arai murmured. “Pain.”

“Stay with me, Raia,” Ace urged. “You can do this.”

Toven Fitch, Arai’s old Jedi friend turned to examine her carefully. “We have healers,” he repeated, turning down a narrow side street in the underground city of Haven. “This way, quickly.”

Ace couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but this whole place set him on edge. Nevertheless, he believed Toven was telling the truth, and as Ace had no magical healing powers of his own, he had to trust these people. At least, for now. He made himself a mental note to head back to the surface and more carefully examine the damage to the ship.

“Raia,” he whispered, “you need to stay awake.”

Arai’s eyes closed and she murmured, “Shut up, Cole…”

“What?” Ace snapped as he caught Toven looking curiously his way.

“You call her Raia,” he said. “That nickname started at the Temple back when we were younglings. There were a select few she let call her that.” He smirked humorlessly. “I was not one of them.”

“Still aren’t, Fitch,” Arai slurred.

“Ah, there’s that spark of temper I once knew so well,” Toven said with a grin, ushering the wounded Jedi and her friend into the med bay. “Not to worry, Arai. We’ll have your head feeling better in no time.”

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

But “no time at all” had stretched longer and longer. Ace had stayed by Arai’s bedside the first day only. After that, she’d barely been conscious, and he’d opted to return to the ship and try to get it running. Each day’s end, he went back down to the healers to check on her condition. To his dismay, he found that her progress in healing roughly paralleled his repair of the ship.

First, they’d had to deal with Arai’s concussion; Ace worked to remove the useless debris. Then, they’d found several serious internal injuries; Ace had to completely dismantle the life support system and reassemble it with parts from less vital systems. Just three days ago, they were fighting blood clots in her legs; Ace started working on the wiring. With every new thing that worked properly, both Arai and the ship seemed to sprout five more complications. Toven remained confident they would reach the end of this mess and get Arai back on her feet. Ace worried what else they might be doing to her while she was unconscious, unaware. In spite of Arai’s firm trust in Toven, Ace could not bring himself to do the same. They had to get off this rock, and they had to do it fast.

With grim determination, Ace dropped back into the ship’s access hatch to tackle the wires. This time, he wore gloves.

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

Three days passed and Ace was feeling optimistic about his progress. The wiring was functioning, the life support would hold, and eight of ten thrusters worked. The engine bank hadn’t been terribly damaged, as Ace had managed to come in at a decently shallow angle, nose down. His only concern was the navicomputer, which had at first refused to accept coordinates, had since shut off completely, and would no longer power on.

He had the machine completely pulled apart and almost entirely back together when he heard the tiny turbolift behind him glide down to ground level. A moment later, it returned to the cockpit and opened. He turned and was surprised to find that his visitor was the one person he’d been wishing most to see.

“Raia!” he exclaimed. “You’re up and at ‘em!”

She laughed and hopped over to him, crutches under arms helping her along. “Not entirely,” she pointed out. “Toven said I’d find you here.” A worried frown. “He said you’ve been sleeping here though they offered you an apartment to yourself down below.”

“No offense to your buddy,” Ace said, “but that place gets under my skin. Soon as I get this computer put back together and working, I want to be moving on.”

Arai’s eyes closed in dismay. “I was afraid you’d say that.”

Ace stiffened. “Don’t tell me you want to stay.”

“It’s nice to be around Force sensitives again,” Arai protested. “It feels good. Feels right.”

“You haven’t been awake much,” Ace said sourly.

“And you haven’t been around them much,” Arai shot back.

Ace took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I don’t want to fight with you, Raia.”

“Then promise me you’ll consider staying,” Arai said quickly. “Toven says the city’s completely undetectable.”

“Our sensors prove him right,” Ace said. “We’re sitting almost right on top of it and we’re getting nothing.”

Arai smiled. “The Force led us here, Ace. It’s the perfect hiding place. No more running.”

For a long time, Ace said nothing. He could understand on a very basic level why Arai was so keen on staying. There were Jedi here; she would be among her own. Here, she could continue learning, help train a new generation, have her old life back. And Ace would again be an outsider. He scowled. Was that it? Was that the reason he felt so uneasy about this place? He hated to think that his sole reason for rejecting the safest place in the galaxy was so selfish. That aside, he knew in the back of his mind that there was another factor here.

He turned back to the navicomputer and resumed his work. Behind him, Arai shifted.

“Is that your answer?” she asked bitterly. “Fix the ship, get out of here?”

Ace sighed heavily. “No, Raia. There’s something else. Your friend Toven suggested I too am Force sensitive. I may not have trained it, but it kinda makes sense. I’m a better pilot than anyone you or I have ever met. My instincts, my reflexes are well above average. You’ve seen me in combat, but you’ve never seen inside my head. I move like I do because I feel it.”

Arai watched him cautiously. “What do you feel?”

“I feel wrong,” Ace answered slowly. “I feel right. I feel what’s in between, what’s dangerous, what might kill me, what will hurt.”

For the first time since awaking in the med bay below, Arai caught the faintest hint of danger in the Force. Her voice trembling, she whispered, “What do you feel… now?”

The pilot looked up at her, surprised at the vulnerability in her tone.

“So very wrong,” he said. “Every fiber of my being is screaming that we have to get out of here.” He stood and caught her hands in his. “Raia, I don’t want to leave without you, but I am leaving this planet as soon as I possibly can. Will you come with me?”

Her breathing shallow, Arai nodded slowly. “I will.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, Ace turned his attention back to the navicomputer. “Thank you. We’re almost ready.”

But suddenly, his senses screamed of danger. Ace jumped to his feet, spinning Arai to one side as Toven Fitch lunged from the turbolift, a pale green lightsaber blade springing from his hand.

“I’m afraid a departure won’t be possible at this time,” he growled softly. “It appears the Empire traced you here. Three star destroyers in orbit. We have to destroy this ship and get underground immediately.”

Ace scowled. “I don’t think so. I just fixed this rustbucket.”

“It’s either that or they discover it,” Arai answered softly. “Ace, I’m sorry, but he’s right. We don’t have a choice.”

Clenching his right hand into a fist, Ace nodded. “Get out. I’ll set autopilot. Short flight plan, self destruct in a matter of seconds.” He smiled humorlessly. “I always was a terrible mechanic.” He glared at Toven. “Put that saber of yours away. Imperials haven’t landed ground troops, have they?”

Toven switched his saber off and clipped it to his belt, reaching to help Arai out of the ship. When they were gone, Ace checked the sensors and swore at the star destroyers he saw there.

“All fixed up and nowhere to go,” he said mournfully, setting the controls and hurrying for the turbolift. Once he was safely outside, he activated the autopilot remotely and ran for the turbolift in the patch of trees. Arai and Toven were waiting for him there, though Toven looked impatient to be underground. As the turbolift descended, the rumble of the ship’s explosion echoed through the rock. Arai turned and placed a comforting hand on Ace’s shoulder.

“It’ll be alright,” she said softly. “We’ll make it.”

“Of course you will,” Toven offered encouragingly, slapping his arms around Arai’s and Ace’s shoulders. Too late, Ace felt the sharp prick of a needle. His vision began to fade, but he scored a parting shot on Toven’s stomach before all was black.


Mom tells me I need brain food... but if writing ain't that, I don't know what is!

My work in progress:
Hidden Histories: The Galaxy Hacker

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