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Complete Detachment (Star Wars Prequel SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by 9adam4, Feb 1, 2019.

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  1. Extras: Archived: Old Ch. 8
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    [Author note: This chapter was rewritten with assistance from Kandagger, below, and can be skipped over.]

    After confirming with the captain that there were no immediate issues with our route, my Master pulled me aside to a small diagnostic chamber and secured the door. He knelt on the ground and invited me to do the same.

    “Obiwan, give a full accounting of your actions on Tatooine.” His tone was no different than ever, but his demeanor made the intent clear. This was formal training - Master to Padawan.

    I centered myself and reflected on the past two days. “I re-established my personal and business relationship with the Lars family, collecting the money needed for my plan to rescue the Skywalkers.”

    “What is that relationship?”

    “I sought Lef Lars out two years ago. I gave him the capital to upgrade his equipment and get the most out of his land. I see a fifty percent return after ten years.”

    “Why did you invest in a moisture farm?”

    “He was the only person I knew of on Tatooine that would be trustworthy enough to leave the money with.”

    “How did you come to know of him in the first place?”

    I considered evading the question, but the matter was past now. “If I had not intervened, Cliegg - Lef’s son, the widower - would have eventually bought Shmi and married her.”

    This perplexed my Master further. “Did he harm her?”

    “Not intentionally. But in ten years she would have been killed by Tusken raiders, prompting Anakin to slaughter an entire Tusken camp in revenge.”

    Qui-Gon inclined his head at me. “You disapprove of that? I am surprised.”

    I regarded my Master. “Why are you surprised that I would disapprove of revenge, Master?” I heightened my focus on his mind, trying to understand his thoughts more clearly.

    “You did not hesitate in killing Viceroy Gunray, or his aides. You killed seven men on Tatooine, and the last you sought out and killed in cold blood. Was that not revenge?”

    I shook my head, and then opened myself up to him as much as I was able. “Master, look at me. Feel me.” I could sense his mind brushing against mine. “Do you feel any anger in me as I remember these acts? Any hatred? Any desire for vengeance, any craving for another’s pain?”

    Qui-Gon’s whole focus, the Force abilities of a Master Jedi, were bent to detecting any hint. But I already knew he would not.

    “I did not kill those men for pleasure, or out of anger. I killed them because they sought to harm others, and the Galaxy was better off without them.”

    “You would presume to know this?”

    “I would, Master. The Galaxy itself flows through us, in the form of the Force. Who better?”

    The larger man leaned his weight backwards, settling into a seated position on the floor. I mirrored him, waiting as he contemplated my words.

    “I cannot deny, Obiwan,” he said, “that I feel no malice in you. The Dark Side, it seems, was not driving you to these acts. And yet… the way you justify your actions, is exactly what a Sith would say.”

    “Forgive me, Master, but, how would you know that? Have you ever spoken to a Sith?”

    He smiled at that, but without warmth. “No, of course not. No living Jedi has, since the last Sith were killed a thousand years ago.”

    “And… since it’s been a thousand years since the Jedi have fought them, or even seen them, how would you recognize one?”

    “A powerful Force user, harnessing the Dark Side? Hard to miss, young one.”

    I shrugged. “And yet, Jedi alive today… maybe even you or I… have spoken with them and not known. But in any event, it was Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side that made the Tusken incident a problem.”

    “And it happened because he lost his mother?”

    “Yes. Fear of loss was… will be… would have been his path to the Dark Side.”

    “How do you know you have changed that?”

    “What do you mean? Shmi is here; she won't be tortured and killed on Tatooine.”

    “Which in no way assures that she won't meet some other fatal end.” He shook his head. “Padawan, death and danger are certainties in the galaxy. If you allow yourself attachment, you allow yourself fear. Every youngling is taught this.”

    “We must teach Anakin something else.”

    Qui-Gon's face did not quite form into a scowl. “You sweep aside hundreds of years of tradition as though it were nothing. You and I were brought up in the Temple. But you claim Anakin cannot?”

    “Should not. Nor should we have been.”

    “Have you no loyalty to the Order?” His tone was bewildered.

    I knew that I needed to tread carefully, but… I couldn’t resist. “How would you respond, my Master, if I said that the Order itself was corrupt. That for the good of the Jedi, and the Galaxy, the Order needed to be dismantled and the Code rewritten?”

    I felt the spark within him as it ignited. “Then I would believe you to be a Sith Lord in truth, or seduced by their philosophy.”

    “Fear, my Master. I sense fear in you.”

    “It is not wrong to fear the Sith,” Qui-Gon responded immediately.

    The trap was sprung. “And that is the problem. Do you not see? You fear the loss of the Order. You are attached to it.” I persisted as he simply looked at me. “The Order should be preserved, but its central hypocrisy must be addressed. We claim that all attachment leads to fear and suffering, but then we foster in all Jedi from childhood an instinctual attachment to each other, to our Masters, to the Jedi Order as a whole.” I shook my head. “Their practices give the lie to what they preach.”

    Qui-Gon continued to look at me placidly. “Do not mistake our love for the Order as though it were familial affection, Obiwan. We love the Order because we see what good it brings, and we fear the evil and destruction if it falls. This is compassion, not merely passion. It is guided by reason and the Force, not emotion.”

    “And yet, when I speak of dismantling it for the good of the Jedi, you do not consider it for a moment. You dismiss the very notion out of hand.”

    His expression did not waiver. “I will think on this. But in the meantime… you discovered and rescued the boy. What do you plan for him?”

    “We will teach him. I will complete the Trials, and take him as my Padawan learner. And you will take him as yours.”

    “A Padawan cannot have two teachers.”

    “Why not?” I challenged. “Anakin is the strongest natural Force user in history. And he lost the formative training we received as younglings. I genuinely believe he would benefit from both our instructions.”

    Qui-Gon nodded. “I will think on it.” He stood, but when I went to join him he waved me back down. “Stay put. I am not the only one who wished to speak with you.”

    As my Master unbarred the door and left, the space was immediately filled by Padme and R2D2. She joined me sitting on the ground, and the droid immediately projected my 3D timeline into the air… with, I could see, two new colors of additional notes.

    “You said if we had any questions,” she began eagerly, “we should ask.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  2. Extras: A New Hope for Old Friends
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    (Years later, in an a different canon far, far away...)

    Luke looked up from the breakfast table with a smlle as his uncle walked in "Ben! We weren't expecting you until later in the week. Something up?"

    The old Jedi nodded thoughtfully, a concerned frown on his face. He gave Aunt Beru a quick hug as Uncle Owen came in the room. "Have you guys been keeping an eye on the telenet? The space battle last night?"

    The old married couple exchanged a look before Lars, answered, "We really haven't had time; you know how busy we are this season."

    "I heard something about it," Luke supplied. "A renegade smuggler taken down by Imperial forces, right?"

    "That's the official story, anyway. Actually it was a diplomatic transport. And Darth Vader was the one in pursuit."

    "Vader!" Luke snarled. "Does that mean it's time??"

    "Time to leave, yes," Ben looked to Beru, who was already pulling out a cooler to stock with provisions. "Not time for you to face your father. You are nowhere close to ready, and I think you know that."

    Luke started to argue, but seeing even Owen hastily packing, realized it wasn't the time. "Then where are we going?"

    "The Dagobah system. We're going to need to lay low, and accelerate your training." His wrist communicator beeped and squealed in droidspeak. "Understood. My droid says we need to be on our way within the next ten minutes." Another sequence of beeps. "I was rounding, Artoo. We've talked about this."

    "How are we getting off-planet if the Empire is here?" Owen asked.

    "I made a call to an old friend who thinks he can smuggle us off in his ship. Any of you speak Wookiee?"
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  3. Extras: A New Hope and An Old Enmity
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    "This isn't the time for a confrontation," Ben insisted. "I can only cloud a part of the station at a time, and there's no guarantee it'll work on Annie for long."

    "Annie?" the rude smuggler parroted.

    "Darth Vader, he means. Anakin Skywalker," Luke supplied.

    "And you're Luke Skywalker," Solo mused.

    Luke already felt like he had said enough, but the man's infuriating stare prompted more somehow. "Vader is my father. He killed my mother in anger during his fall to the Dark Side."

    "You don't have to convince me, kid," Han said as Chewbacca purred in agreement. "Vader is a mass murderer, everybody knows that. And while I haven't seen much of it myself, Chewie insists this Force stuff is the real deal, and he's never steered me wrong before. So... what's the plan?"

    *****

    Luke hadn't really had to lift his weapon, what with Ben easily deflecting incoming fire and the smuggling partners returning it. Still, he was excited to be the one to grab the Princess from her cell. To think after all these years, to finally get to meet the twin sister he'd been forced to live apart from...

    The Princess's corpse lay blue along the metal bed of the cell, her face twisted in a rictus of fear. "No!" Luke screamed, running into the cell, but it was far too late for her. "No! Ben, help!"

    He heard rather than saw the movement at the cell door, but neither Ben nor Han had made it into the room before Darkness fell across the entire cell block. Looking around, Luke saw that none of the lights had dimmed, and yet it was as though his sight itself was fading, a deep and pressing Fear occluding his very soul. He stumbled out into the hallway, finding it hard to move.

    "What, what's going on?" Han was already on his knees, his blaster forgotten, and Chewbacca seemed little better.

    It was Ben who spoke. "This is a mental attack. Luke, center yourself, draw strength from your own courage. Feel the fear but do not join it; let it flow through you."

    "He is too weak, too inexperienced," the booming voice came from a nearby cell where a caped cyborg in black had been waiting, Luke realized, for some time without their notice. Vader took a single step forward to size up the four intruders. "Even you, old Master, can hardly resist me, much less this youngling."

    "I am hardly as frail as all that, old friend," Ben rejoindered, his lightsaber hilt suddenly in his hand. "And you'll not a lay a hand on the boy."

    "You lost the right to give me orders long ago." Vader's blade hissed on, a brilliant crimson, and Ben's joined it as though in response. "My powers have grown, even as yours have diminished in your exile. I am the Master, now. And I have much to teach you."

    "Strike me down," the old man warned, "and I shall become..." he panted, breathless, "more powerful... than..." his statement dwindled as his eyelids flickered.

    "Strike you down?" the Sith Lord intoned. "Oh, no, Obi-wan. What would that profit me?"

    "Poison gas? Really?" Ben sank to his knees; Luke's own head was swimming.

    "An obvious weapon when you, alone, are on a respirator," Vader gloated. "No, my old nemesis. You shall not be struck down. You shall be shown the power of the Dark Side, and you shall come to embrace it, as all great heroes eventually do." He caught his ex-mentor's blade as the old man crumpled to the floor. "Your turning, and my son's, will be my greatest triumph yet."

    "You know?" Luke screamed, but it came out a whisper as his anger let him hold on to the barest edge of consciousness. "You know what you've done?"

    "My daughter or not, I saw no profit in leaving a Rebel Princess alive to be rescued." The black mask met Luke eye to eye, and seemed to glare deep into him. "But you're very much a different story, boy.

    "Who would ever come to rescue you?"

    The hatred enveloped Luke along with oblivion.
     
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  4. Extras: No Hope in the Enemy's Hands
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Vader used the term "guests" ironically, but in some ways that's exactly what Luke and Ben were. The room they shared was nicely furnished - moreso than his room back on Tatooine had been - and they were well-fed.

    The manacles were slightly annoying, but manageable. The only real frustration was the neural disruptor. It was a constant static in the back of Luke's thoughts, which intensified any time he tried to focus. Ben explained that they had been developed for restraining Force-users, since mental state was the one universal requisite of their abilities.

    They apparently had no real effect on the old Master, but the little metal circlet managed to keep Luke from using any of his hard-won training in telekinesis or biofeedback. He was very much at Vader's mercy... and mercy was a part of the man that had been removed as cleanly and completely as his limbs.

    Vader came to see them almost every day. He would deactivate both their crowns and reach his cybernetic arm out to grasp Ben Kenobi's shoulder. And the two of them would battle.

    Luke couldn't think of any better word for it. Even in his limited training, he could sense the massive struggle as unparalleled will was brought to bear against an endless sea of calm. Aggression and passion battered the bastion of self-control.

    Every day, Ben won, Vader breaking the link with a wordless snarl. But as days passed, Luke could tell that the old man was wearing down. And, although Ben never confirmed this, Luke was certain that he only had to break once.

    Once the contest of wills was complete, if he had time, the Left Hand of the Empire turned his attention on his prodigal son. Although he left the disruptors off for his entire visit, there was no whiff of psychic coercion in what Vader did to Luke. They just... talked.

    Well, Vader talked. Luke listened. He didn't mean to, at first, but it wasn't long before he paid rapt attention as Vader shared his memories of a tragic past. Twisted, yes - seen through the lens of paranoia, where everyone in Anakin's life was an inevitable traitor or forlorn victim - but deeply personal and wholly true as the Sith himself understood it.

    Luke came no closer to agreeing with Vader; had no interest in joining him. But he came to understand him better, to comprehend the factors that could lead one, step by step, to damnation.

    And once Vader had left (or on days where Vader's responsibilities at the station prevented him from coming), Uncle Ben left as well. Not physically, of course, but he spent at least a couple of hours each day projecting himself elsewhere. Luke knew better than to ask whom Ben was talking to, or even allow himself to think about it too much. With one of the strongest psychics in the Galaxy, and their mortal enemy, in their room daily, it was an unreasonable risk.

    So Luke spent his time reading books and watching holo-tapes, although not ones that required too much of his attention. And when Ben would return, sometimes he would ask the man questions about what Vader had said, for another perspective on the follies of the Jedi Order.

    On one particular day, though, Ben opened his eyes with what Luke saw as resignation. He turned his eyes towards Luke and began, without preamble, "I'm sorry that we couldn't save your sister, my boy. And..." he swallowed, his voice hoarse, "I'm afraid we can't save you either."

    A stab of fear hit Luke when he thought he was already numb to it. "We?" he started, but he knew that was a question he wasn't supposed to ask.

    Obi-wan ignored the question, and continued. "I have failed you, just as thoroughly as I failed him. I... just..." he let out a shuddering breath. "I want you to know that I tried. But also that -"

    The old Master's head jerked away suddenly, and Luke actually felt the burst of alarm from his uncle. "What is it?" he asked after it seemed that Ben wasn't going to finish his lament.

    "The Emperor is coming," he replied simply, and Luke knew dispair.
     
  5. Extras: Imperial March
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Luke felt the neural disruptor switch off as the deformed old man entered their cell. He panicked when he realized that Ben was still elsewhere, the Jedi's body glowing softly in meditation.

    "Be at ease, young Skywalker," Sidious intoned. "Your Master's coordination with the Rebel Fleet is no secret to me. He will be back soon. In the meantime, we can chat." He sat on a chair near Luke's bed. "Are you comfortable here? Has my apprentice treated you well?"

    Luke nodded, but found it difficult to know what to say. This was not how he had expected the Emperor to behave.

    "Are you surprised that I can be civil? That I would insist that no harm come to you?" The wrinkled face gave a kind smile. "Those who deal first with Vader are often confused when they meet me. He is a monster, you see, while I am not."

    "You're both monsters," Luke choked out. "Both servants of the Dark Side."

    Chuckling, Sidious shook his head. "Not at all. Vader is a monster because he needs to be. He is a warrior; he keeps piece throughout the galaxy at the point of a sword. Seething anger keeps him strong, able to wield the full power of the Force." He spread his arms. "But me? I have always been a ruler. A man devoted to imposing order through the rule of law, in leading sentients to better lives for all of us.

    "The Force does not rule me, young Skywalker - not the Dark Side nor any part of it. No, the Force is a tool like any other."

    "You say that," came Ben's voice as he opened his eyes, "but you are as completely ruled by hatred as Vader is."

    Sidious shook his head. "You say I am ruled, Master Kenobi. And yet, only one of us reigns in his emotions in order to manage his connection to the Force. Only one of us limits his power, curtails his abilities, because of fear of the consequences of doing what he wants."

    "If you succumb to the Dark Side, it consumes you, as you demonstrate so well," Ben insisted, nodding at the ravaged body of the Emperor.

    "How shallow of one of your training, to point to my injuries caused by other Jedi during their futile struggle against the Empire, and blame them on the Dark Side of the Force," Palpatine clicked his tongue chidingly.

    "If you are not ruled by the Dark Side," Luke asked, "then why are we kept here?"

    "You have opposed the Empire. Conspired with the Rebels, inflitrated this Station. Master Kenobi continues to coordinate with the Rebels even now. Should these crimes be left unanswered?"

    "Opposing tyranny is no crime," Ben spat.

    "Spoken like a terrorist," Sidious shrugged. "My purpose here is threefold. The first is curiosity, as my Visions of the future do not include your capture here. Inevitably you escaped, whether Vader detained Princess Organa here, or held her elsewhere and replaced her with that ghastly butchered clone."

    Hope surged in Luke for the first time in days. "Clone? Then my sister-"

    "Is alive, of course. As though I'd allow him to dispose of so valuable an asset so carelessly."

    Luke exchanged a glance with his Master, who didn't react with the least surprise. "You knew?"

    "I suspected," Ben admitted. "I didn't want to give you false hope-"

    "Better than no hope!" Luke shouted, the waves of anger pouring through him.

    "Good, yes," Sidious smiled. "Do not suppress these feelings like a misguided cripple. All of your emotions link you to the Force, even anger."

    "And what is your anger directing you to do, Luke?" Obi-wan pointed out, softly. "Is this the person that you want to be?"

    Blowing out a breath, Luke let his anger dwindle, although a small ember remained. "You said three purposes," he prompted their visitor.

    "The second is to form the needed mind link with Master Kenobi to confirm the Rebel's plans for attacking the base. It will be far less painful if you submit to it, Obi-wan," he said, not unkindly.

    Ben just shook his head in response, and the Emperor sighed in frustration.

    "And the third reason?" Luke prompted again.

    "To show you true power, my boy," he beamed proudly, "and how much harm the Jedi do to their own potential by their arbitrary constraints."

    Luke watched in apprehension as Emperor Palpatine I stood, placing one clawed hand against Ben's forehead. The old Jedi suppressed an obvious flinch, and closed his eyes in concentration. Luke felt the Darkness, at once impossibly cold and lethally hot, envelop the room around them as the battle was engaged.

    Sessions between Vader and Obi-Wan had sometimes taken hours, but within barely a minute, a smile crossed the Emperor's face and Ben slumped forward in defeat.

    "Curious," Palpatine murmured. "The Rebel plans match my visions quite perfectly. Lure Vader off the station for a dogfight, infiltrate and coopt the Death Star, use it to destroy my personal planetary retreat. No surprises, no shocking secrets? I've already instructed Lord Vader to remain on board to repel the boarding action. And I will be here myself to assure the deployed space fighters are unbeatable."

    Ben shook his head in denial, as Sidious continued. "The Dagobah system, now that is valuable intel. Master Yoda, K'Kruhk, Jax Pavan, Shaak Ti, and a dozen younger Jedi. Vader will be pleased at the opportunity to see them all again, once this matter is settled."

    "They'll be ready for him," Ben insisted, and to that the old man responded with a deep laugh.

    "No, they really won't." He turned toward the door. "The link is forged now, and I'll be back to learn more. These Visions of yours... what your mind keeps calling the 'Star Wars'... they look most valuable."

    The door hissed closed behind him, but the two prisoners didn't speak again for quite some time.
     
  6. Extras: Execute: Set.Operations.Variant/Secure()
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Astronavigation and repair droid R2D2 would not have called itself 'unhappy' with the plan. Such language was steeped in hedonics - a utility system that strongly prioritized biological pain or pleasure over other considerations.

    No, if R2 were asked his opinion of the plan, it would have expressed a valuation of disutility based on the unacceptable probability of scenario collapse. And if Priority User 0B1 had received this valuation, he would have said that the droid was 'unhappy with it.' Which R2 would have then affirmed, as that was a plausible isometric mapping of its thinking into biological terms.

    R2 found disutility in evaluating its processing in biological terms, but its Users often did so. Acceptable.

    The negative evaluation of the plan was primarily due to the mutiple examples of single failure points that it included, the most prominent of which was R2D2 itself. Should it be incapacitated before fulfilling its function, or fail to properly carry out its instructions due to exterior interference, failure was assured.

    R2 had submitted multiple backup procedures to 0B1 when refining the plan, but was consistently rebuffed. "Relying on the Force-masking effect of Dagobah is already questionable," its User had replied during one such exchange. "If we have a failsafe somewhere, I'm sure Palpatine will sense it. Sorry, Artoo, but it's down to just you."

    So R2 had taken every effort to make sure its actions would not be impaired. It had multiple backdoors into the communications system of the frigate upon which he was positioned. It stayed close to Guest User Rahm, despite the Jedi's inability to speak Binary, as he received periodic messages from 0B1 and was willing to share those with R2. And it aided in the development of both ship and infantry tactics for the coming assault on the Death Star, despite knowing that any such assault in the absence of the secret plan was most probably a high-casualty failure.

    After weeks of operations, the word finally came down: the attack would be in the Taris system, as the Imperial station resupplied on its way to Yavin. That the Empire was targeting the Rebel facility on Yavin was a negative factor in evaluating the likely prognosis of Primary User L314, as she was the most probable source of this intelligence. But it seemed to have the effect of motivating the biologicals to go forward with the ambush.

    R2 prepared a probable branching tactical analysis and timeline, along with coordinates and protocols, and sent the encrypted file using the frigate's directional interplanetary communications array. Its own role in the plan complete, it made itself busy making minor repairs and upgrades aboard the ship, being disinclined to enter low-power mode and wait as it had done numerous times before. Every million processing cycles or so, it ran a supplemental set of projections with variant parameters and evaluated the likely success of the mission.

    Astronavigation and repair droid R2D2 would not have called itself 'nervous.'
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
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