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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. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    That's a memory hole, unfortunately. Too tied up directly in the Sith machinations of the clone wars.

    Asajj Ventress would be very easy to fix; similar to Dooku, she only fell because she lost the person she cared about. Unfortunately, there's no one to stop that from happening.

    Long live the bloody queen of Rattatak.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Ch. 42 - Masterful Wisdom
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    "Master Yoda?"

    The Temple quarters reserved for the Council members' use were large, if built in the same archaic milieu as the rest of the compound. I had not had a reason to visit Yoda's room before now, and stepping over a pile of old newsletters and around a half-disassembled tea-maker, I could see why.

    The mismatched furniture was sized for a human, including three different tables and a queen-sized four-poster bed. Every surface, even the bed, was covered in clutter. Much of it was old documents - manuals, journals, star charts - but random consumer items and clothes were strewn about as well.

    "Master?" I called again, and only then did the tiny Jedi's presence register. He was further in, somewhere… over…

    "Obi-wan." The wrinkled face and green ears popped from underneath the bed. He wasn't smiling. "Meet again in two days the Council will. Wait until then, your question cannot?"

    I stepped farther into the room. "Master Jinn recommended I come to you personally with this. Not by way of the Council."

    "Mmmm, yes. A personal chat, this space is suited for. Join me you will." His head disappeared under the duvet.

    It was with some trepidation that I got down on hands and knees to follow the Grand Master of the Order under his bed. As incongruous as it was, I found myself thinking of the blanket forts and burrows that my sons had always built behind couches or under the table. There were plenty of bedclothes piled around, and a thick rug that covered most of the stone floor below the bed. Yoda settled into a nest of pillows; a portable light and stack of books lay within his easy reach.

    The old man regarded me patiently, seeming content to sit quietly until I was ready to speak.

    "I made a mistake," I began, and the Master nodded.

    "The folly of youth, this is. Advice you seek, only after mistakes you have made. More valuable my wisdom might have been, if sought it before a decision you made."

    I nodded, conceding the point. "The problem with consulting with the Council, is that it effectively takes the decision away from us."

    He shook his head sharply at this. "Consult with the Council, did I suggest? No! Consult with me, I said. Trust me, do you not?"

    The silence stretched, before I finally decided to say it. "No, Master. I suppose I do not, really. I trust your intent, certainly, but not your judgement."

    "Mmmm, yes. Failures you saw, in your Visions, and so my judgment you find questionable." He let the conclusion linger. "Remind me, then: your judgment, in these Visions of the future? Sound it was, yes? Fail you did not?"

    I scowled. "You know very well that Obi-wan's failure in the original timeline was as great as any. But that's the point. I'm not acting as he did. The Visions changed me."

    "Unique in this, do you suppose you are?" Yoda asked. "A new path you can learn, while destined are the rest of us to trudge toward our predicted ends?"

    "No, that isn't - " I had trouble meeting his eyes as I assembled my response.

    "Learn we can, too, Obi-wan." He reached a clawed, three-fingered hand to my face, holding my gaze in his. "If let us in, you will. Still trying to save the Galaxy yourself, you are, yet many allies other than just the Force you have. Learn more lessons than just from your Visions, you must."

    "Okay, I'll tr… I will. Yes, Master."

    "Good. So," Yoda sat back, swiping up a book almost his own size to paw through. "The Mind Spike your Padawan knows. Teach it to her, did you?"

    I shook my head. "Mind Spike? This is the first I've heard of it."

    Claws swiveled the manuscript around to face me. It was a handwritten folio of the type common on worlds with paper but no automated press. The Aurabeth was blocky but legible. I read aloud.

    "... and a third Spirit Warrior did he slay. So did the squire say unto Mara Din, Ho-Laja will pierce my mind before we draw blades, and how can I withstand this attack? And Mara Din said, your mind is your home, so if he lays siege, prepare for the assault. Within your Soul is an empty Darkness. Place within it a Spike of burning Agonies, and disguise it with a longsuffering look. So shall Ho-Laja step into your mind, and encounter the Pit, and himself become impaled, and you shall strike him down with your Unholy Blade, in the name of Mara Din. It came to pass, that Ho-Laja was slain. Thereafter the Spirit Warriors did battle with Blades alone, for although a Mind Spear was a great feat of Spirit, the Mind Spike could be placed by even the weakest apprentice."

    "A kernel of truth legends hold, and often much more," the Master said as he took the old tome back from my hand. "But teach Olana, this book could not have, nor any I know in the Archives. Another teacher does she have?"

    I sighed, giving a wordless nod.

    "Ask you how she acquired it, I will not." His sigh was a counterpoint to my own. "Safe from the corruption of a Sith holocron, most Masters do not believe themselves to be. Yet, allow a youngling one you did? Why?"

    "She made it an issue of trust." I felt Yoda's consternation as his attention beat on me like the hot sun. "I let her have it - just for a little while - and this all happened so fast. There should have been a learning curve. Warning signs. Not… just… suddenly a new Force power."

    "Far more driven than you realize, she is. Your expectations she will always strive to exceed. Her ultimate objective she will never meet otherwise."

    "Right," I shook my head. "I still think of her as a child, needing to be guided. But she's smarter than I am. More determined."

    "Still in need of guidance she is, more now than ever," Yoda rejoined. "But think of her as a child you cannot. Mistake your tenderness for love, she will. Your fatherly affection for romantic attachment."

    "You're not going to chide me for making these connections?" I searched his eyes; his thoughts radiated worry and concern but nothing more.

    Yoda shook his head. "An unfeeling machine I am not, Obi-wan. Attachment we spurn, but not connection. Compassion… affection… loyalty. Strengthened by these things, a Jedi can be. Father and mother are we all to the younglings; brother and sister to each other."

    I felt apprehension from him as he said these things, as though he was holding back from addressing something else. I asked, "So what do I do?"

    "About what?" he asked with a neutral expression, but he felt far less relaxed than he made himself look.

    "About the holocron, the Dark technique."

    He leaned forward, his voice barely above a growl. "What to do, you know already, yes?" He nodded to himself when I didn't answer. "Go, then. Decide for you I cannot."
     
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  3. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    Well this is going to be interesting. I am kinda surprised Master Yoda of all people has such a messy room though, and that he prefers to hide under his own bed lol. He's like an oversized troll child....wait, is he still 'Baby Yoda'? :p
     
  4. Demetric

    Demetric Getting sticky.

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    I’m not terribly surprised by his room. Yoda doesn’t seem the type to care about that kind of thing, when it doesn’t affect who it matters. Besides, he lived on a buttfuck nowhere swamp planet for who knows how long. Kinda indicative of his standards.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  5. morningbeauvoir

    morningbeauvoir Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    What if yoda's like the dalai lama? He really is baby Yoda.
     
  6. R.A.G.

    R.A.G. Experienced.

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    The legend is interesting as it gives reasoning for why Jedi and Sith don't constantly mindbattle one another. While learning to attack is hard, any rando can set up a mental defence for people to fuck themselves up on, so stabbing them irl is a much surer thing.

    Beyond that, while I doubt he'll take it away forever, I hope Kenobi takes away the holocron for a while and has her examining and reexamining her thoughts and beliefs until she's made sure she solidly believes whatever it is she believes in (making it harder for her to be swayed).
     
  7. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    Has this been shared? Because Darth jar jar has made an appearance, this isn't too far off.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Ch. 43 - Dark Technique
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    The Temple courtyard included a number of clear spaces between grassy patches where initiates could study or train. I found the two together, sitting on either side of a triangular stack of bricks. Each brick was only the length of a finger and a third as tall, but the careful construction reached their shoulders.

    "Very good, Anakin," Olana praised as two bricks landed, symmetrically, on opposite sides of the structure. Her short Padawan’s braid was a visible reminder of her change in status. "You ready?"

    "Ready," the boy said, his attention focused entirely on the stones.

    With a move of her hand, Olana sent the topmost piece flying, up and backwards past Anakin. The younger boy sprang to his feet, spun around, and threw out an outstretched hand; the brick immediately reversed direction.

    Even as Anakin floated the brick back towards the stack, Olana moved her attention to another brick, flinging it away. The first brick dropped to the ground as the second was arrested, and it in turn dropped as a third was launched and caught. Each brick found its way back to a loose circle near the two youths, until the eighth, which clattered against the wall surrounding the courtyard.

    "Seven, excellent," I stepped forward, surprising the boy although not his smiling trainer.

    "I got ten one time," Anakin whined. "She goes too fast. I can't even get 'em restacked anymore."

    "That's why we start with the double stacking," Olana calmly reminded him. "You can continue to focus on one object while also lifting another."

    "Show me?" the boy looked up at her with pleading eyes.

    Olana sighed. "Not today, Annie. The trial was pretty exhausting."

    "I imagine so," I chimed in, and was gratified by the worried look she flashed me.

    "Yeah, you did good today! Didn't she, Obi?" Anakin danced excitedly, the bricks temporarily forgotten. "When do I get to learn how to do that?"

    "We've already been working on your saber," Olana frowned.

    "Not that! The mind thing you did to Partha. She's was totally surprised! Did you see the look on her face?" Anakin's delighted smile mirrored the one I'd seen on Olana's face at the end of the Trial, and his mental state matched it: reveling in the pain and defeat of a foe.

    My Padawan's own mind was well-shielded, but her expression showed a great amount of embarrassment. "Why do you think that was me?
    "Wasn't it? You told me you were going to take care of her when we figured out what she was doing." Anakin frowned, and then he glanced at me. He moved closer to her and tried to whisper, "Sorry; was that a secret?"

    Olana shook her head, flashing the boy a resigned smile. "It was, but not anymore. Obi-wan's here to talk to me about it, I think."

    I nodded. "So this was just you and… no other Jedi?" I left the implication unsaid. "You didn't tell Anakin or anyone else what you were planning?"

    "No one else," she confirmed.

    I had intended to send Anakin off, and discuss the matter in private. But his senses were keener than I had expected, and it was better to approach him head-on. I knelt down in front of the boy, giving him my full attention as Olana stood by. "Annie, what Olana used is a Dark Side technique."

    "It's not!" she interrupted me, almost yelling. "The Hate Funnel is a Jedi technique. It separates emotions from actions, just like you do."

    "Why d'you think that Lana would use a Sith technique? She's a Jedi." Anakin cast scorn on the very idea.

    I rose, making eye contact with Olana even while ostensibly still speaking to Anakin. "We are discussing two different things. I didn't say the technique was Sith. I said it was Dark."

    "That's the same thing," Anakin began, but Olana shook her head.

    "No, Obi-wan is right on this." (I caught the subtle emphasis given to 'this' as opposed to other things.) "Whether a technique is used by the Jedi, the Sith, both, or neither is distinct from its place within the Force. What leads you to believe the Hate Funnel uses the Dark Side, Master?"

    I gave just a hint of a smile. “Why don’t you tell me, Padawan?”

    Olana glowered, a look I knew was part of her focus when tackling tough questions. “The Dark Side of the Force is reached through strong emotion. Malice, aggression, fear, disgust. The desire to harm others, to assert one’s individual will on the Galaxy, rather than abide by its will.”

    I nodded. “A Force-user’s powers come from an alignment between their mental state, and the state of the Force near them. Jedi train to align their minds to their surroundings. The Dark Side is the opposite - changing the alignment of your surroundings to match your will. The Jedi gain power by emptying themselves of anything contrary to the Force. But Power in the Dark Side is gained by drawing on those elements of the Force that match how you are feeling.” I made brief contact with Anakin, who was listening intently. “But repeated use of those elements attunes you to them, and colors how you connect to the Force. If you draw the strength of hatred through the Force towards yourself, in order to use its power, then the hatred itself is augmented by the Force. Hatred is made stronger, and more persistent. It’s still there the next time you connect.”

    Olana made a small nod. “You believe the Hate Funnel is a Dark technique, because the act of collecting my hatred involves contacting the Force through the Dark Side.” She shook her head. “It doesn’t, though. The hatred is collected and separated prior to opening yourself to the Force. When you commune with the Force, it is only to mask the Funnel, not to create it.”

    “I find that hard to believe,” I said. “When creating the… Funnel, you didn’t feel a surge of emotion? A strong pang of hostility or rage?”

    She shook her head. “No, I didn’t. Obi-wan, why don’t I teach you the technique? It’s not difficult, and you can feel the Force connection for yourself. It’s pure.”

    I shook my head. “I can’t risk it. I must be entirely clear of emotional attachments before I will open myself to the Force.”

    Olana nodded, but this prompted Anakin to speak up. “I’m usually feeling a lot of emotion, even when I’m using the Force. Is that evil?”

    Sighing, I took a moment to consider the best answer to Anakin’s question. “It’s definitely not evil, Annie. A distinction needs to be made between the Dark Side, and immoral behavior. Our actions can be evaluated as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ based on both our intent to help or harm, and whether we actually do help or harm.”

    Anakin replied, “But the Sith want to harm, and they do harm. So they are evil.”

    “They do evil,” I corrected. “We simplify by saying they are evil, but that’s just a shorthand to say that they are actively choosing evil behaviors.”

    Anakin echoed my earlier sigh. “You’re making this very complicated, you know. Sith are the bad guys, so they do evil. Jedi are the good guys, do they do good. Right, Lana?”

    My Padawan thought before answering. “It’s the other way around,” she said, and I felt a swell of pride. “A sentient being is evil, or good, because she does evil or good. And because she intends evil or good.”

    “Exactly,” I agreed. “And what did you intend, when creating your Hate Funnel?”

    “To defend myself,” she said, but she didn’t meet my eyes as she said it. “And to make sure that she never did it again.”

    “Partha betrayed you,” I offered, stepping forward to come uncomfortably close to her. I extended my mind, probing the edges of her blank shielding. “You thought she was a friend, that the things she said and did were well-intended. When all along, she was sabotaging you.” Olana kept her gaze downward; she flushed. I muttered, “You wanted to hurt her, didn’t you? To punish her for hurting you.”

    “Yes,” she hissed through gritted teeth. “But I put all of that in the Funnel.” She finally met my eyes, pleading. “I put it all in the Funnel, and I closed it away, and she only felt it because she attacked me again.” Her control was weakening, and I felt the red hot anger leaking behind the dissolving mass. It burst like an overfilled balloon, but I was ready. On every side, her mind was already enveloped by mine, and her anger hit my cool awareness, sizzling outward and sinking into me.

    Anakin shouted in alarm as Olana fell forward, wrapping her arms around me and burying her face in my chest. I held her body and her mind both, my own awareness absorbing layer after layer of her radiating hostility.

    As she wept, the anger faded, and I saw what was just beneath it: a slimy coating of shame. Of her weakness, her failings, her ignorance. Of not being good enough for Him. Of disappointing Him, and being shown to be only His student, in need of His rescue, over and over again. I had absorbed the anger, but I didn’t touch the shame, or try to see what was underneath. I just buoyed it, giving her mind a calm place to float as she collected herself.

    Olana stepped back just as she withdrew her mind from mine. The whole interaction had taken mere moments, and it was clear how tired she was from it. “I’m okay, Anakin,” she insisted as she looked to me with sheepish gratitude. “Obi-wan was just helping me put myself back in order.”

    “I underestimated the danger,” I insisted at barely above a murmur.

    “We both did,” she agreed. “So, what now?”

    “The danger in what?” Anakin asked, thoroughly flummoxed by the discussion.

    I ignored his question, and answered hers. “We give ourselves time. I know you’re tired,” I gestured toward the courtyard entrance, “but we should do this now. Do you trust me?”

    “Always,” Olana spoke without hesitation.

    “Me too!” Anakin added, cheerful if still uncertain as to what was happening.

    “Come along, then.”

    We found Qui-Gon sitting quietly on the edge of his bed, the metal casing around his left leg connected by wire to R2-D2’s data port. C-3PO was there as well; I hadn’t had much contact with the protocol droid since he’d been volunteered by Anakin to stay with Padme.

    As the droids conveyed greetings, I exchanged a glance with Qui-Gon to quickly convey the purpose of our meeting. He nodded at Anakin, letting me know that the boy could stay. Rapid, secret exchanges are much easier with telepaths.

    “Artoo, Threepio, thank you for your help,” Qui-Gon turned to the droids first, his tone clearly signalling dismissal.

    **Acknowledged.** R2-D2 beeped.

    “You’re welcome, Master Jinn. Please call us if we can be of further assistance,” C-3PO added with far greater aplomb.

    The two droids turned to exit, but I addressed them just as the door opened. “Artoo, were you going to come with us to Ilum?”

    **Negative.** The droid continued to roll away, and his hobbling partner followed.

    At a gesture from Qui-Gon, I locked the door behind the departing droids, and we approached the bed. “Olana,” I prompted calmly, “the holocron.”

    She produced the pyramid from her robes, still glowing that gory red. At a nod from me, she offered it to Qui-Gon.

    “Please,” I asked, “take it. I’m still loathe to destroy it, but this short time has made it clear that she…” I took a breath, looking from my Padawan to my former Master. “That we, Olana and I, aren’t prepared to use it. Not yet.”

    Qui-Gon nodded, accepting the small artifact. As it passed from Olana, the red glow seemed to localize and dim, as though it couldn’t push as strongly against its surroundings. The Master held the holocron in his open palm, almost fully extended to arm’s length, making no move to clutch it or give it a closer look. “There is a place,” he spoke to Anakin, “that we can take this. It will be safe there, for a time.”

    The boy nodded. “So that’s a Sith holocron. Is that why the gatekeeper wears a hood?” At the confused looks from us, Anakin explained, “Olana just left it out on a shelf when she was sleeping. Couldn’t anybody pick it up and look at it? Aren’t those things dangerous?”

    “Nobody can see it there,” Olana insisted. “They’re actually repelled from getting too close to it. Except for you, apparently.”

    “It was kinda weird that you kept wearing it everywhere but nobody asked you about it. I figured it was, like, an Initiate thing.” He looked at the piece with more than a little curiosity, but no apparent fear or apprehension.

    With one hand still carefully outstretched and flat, Qui-Gon carefully reached under the bed and pulled out a piece of lockable luggage. He opened it one-handed, wrapping the holocron in a blanket and packing it away with spare robes. “Anakin, I need you to listen carefully to me,” Qui-Gon held the boy’s attention as he locked the piece away. “You are not to touch, or otherwise access, the holocron on your own. Not for any reason. If you feel you must do something with it, then come to me and we will do it together.”

    Anakin seemed to understand Qui-Gon’s somber tone, because he replied with a calm, “Yes, Master.”

    The Master turned back to the two of us. “It will be safe, and unused, if you ask for it again. But I sincerely hope that you do not.” He looked at the suitcase critically. “When do you leave for Ilum?”

    “Tomorrow,” Olana answered. “Travel time is about three days each way, so we expect to be gone for as much as two weeks. The Seer is already in transit.”

    “When we get back,” I added, “I’m going to need your help. The projects I have in mind are -”

    “Dangerous, over-the-top, and borderline impossible,” Qui-Gon interrupted. “We already know you, Obi-wan.”

    I tilted my head, conceding the point. “And yet, you’re still here.”

    Qui-Gon shrugged. “They’re my quarters.”

    “You know what I mean.”

    Qui-Gon rested a hand thoughtfully on the closed case. “Someone has to be.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  9. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    Monstrous, making a lady cry. :p
     
  10. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    Cute and unhealthy! I love it!
     
  11. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Instead of a separate chapter, I added the short Qui-Gon interaction to the end of 43. You might need to go back and finish it.
     
  12. R.A.G.

    R.A.G. Experienced.

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    Oh wow, seems like the hate funnel is a hell of a trap. While it doesn't actively taint your force connection it gets you to call up the emotions and tie them to a mental construct, defining them real hard.
     
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  13. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    A warning as to where I'm going here.

    Ilum is next, then the Kathol Rift. Both will involve controversial story choices, and quite a bit of non-canonical material. Changes to the timeline are going to start amplifying themselves.

    I'm very interested in people's reactions, including negative. Note, however, that "this isn't how it happened in canon" will increasingly be a theme of the work, so I don't consider that a valid criticism.

    Feel free to post it anyway. And thanks for reading!
     
  14. Zaynal

    Zaynal Gotta get dat power fantasy~

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    I'm adding myself to the list of voices that are following this thread. It's of surprising quality for an SI fic. That's not a slight against the 'genre', I read it regularly after all, but rather a praise of this fic to keep me entertained in a non popcorn reading way. I was following it since the beginning, but seeing how the comments are few compared to other long-running threads, I thought I'd correct that a little.

    A long-winded way of saying, have a like. Keep writing it. All that fun stuff.
     
    R.A.G., Oh I am slain! and 9adam4 like this.
  15. Threadmarks: Ch. 44 - Master Myren
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Myren Selbek was easily the oldest human that I'd ever seen traverse a Force-guided jump route. Such navigation, which required lightning-quick reflexes as well as inspired piloting, was typically the domain of the young.

    But Master Selbek had shook his grizzled grey head most vigorously when I made to take the helm. "The lane to Ilum isn't in the automated records," he croaked, "and it's tricky. Just pay attention and I'll let you fly us home."

    It was, in all honesty, the smoothest space flight I could remember. Myren's mind was an open book - and spread out even more when flying - and the comfortable contentment with which he moved was an example to me. I could feel Master Dooku's strong mind in the hold, but otherwise the trip through hyperspace was a peculiar emptiness from the billions of life forms usually abiding in the background of my awareness. Olana was even more tightly shielded than before her recent breakdown.

    "So, these Visions of yours," Master Selbek addressed as I felt his mind settle into the pattern of a straight leg, "involved living a full life on an isolated world. And at the same time, knowing details of the fall of the Republic and rise of a Sith Lord?" His curiosity was genuine; I sensed no deeper motive behind the question than to understand.

    "There was more to it than that. Do Force Visions ever include a false framing? Experiences that aren't real, but help the Seer make sense of what he sees?"

    Myren nodded. "Yes, some Visions are like this. A Jedi will dream that she took a land speeder to overlook a valley where she sees a future battle, or will open a book that explains an event as though it were history. Visions also include allegorical elements rendered into images, like a soldier holding up a shield to imply that a planet needs to mount a defensive. Yours were like this?"

    "Far more extensive, but yes." I leaned back in the co-pilot's seat. "I lived almost forty years as a human on a world in a different galaxy. A planet with its own self-contained history and culture - no other worlds or alien intelligences."

    Myren's curiosity grew. "How did this result in knowledge of our future, then?"

    "Holodramas. Well, the local equivalent."

    "Fiction? All of it?" This confused him.

    "I lived in a wealthy part of the planet at a time when certain beloved stories were expanded upon ad nauseum. A trilogy of dramas on the fall of the Empire, three decades from now, eventually expanded into a timeline with stories and characters spanning millennia. Novels, sims, tactical modules. Episodics, more full-length dramas, eventually."

    Myren was agog. "What planet could possibly have time for all that?"

    "I suspect some worlds in the Galaxy do it, but it takes a certain amount of disposable wealth spread out over enough of the population."

    The old man nodded. "A Vision doesn't need to be realistic. Like a dream, it needs can be understood by the one who has it. So your knowledge of the future Republic, the Galactic conflicts, is embedded in years of unrelated memories?"

    "Yes. It's very fortunate that now I have perfect recall involving every scrap of fictional material I ever processed during that lifetime. If you had asked other-me the specs of the E-11 blaster rifle, or even the name of the Chancellor of the Republic, I would have given you a blank stare."

    "That is certainly fortunate," Myrek said. "I will admit, Obi-wan, that what you describe is very different from any other Force Vision I have heard of. I understand why the Council sent you to Ilum."

    "I'm still not sure that I do."

    "You need to deal with your past." An alarm sounded on the console, and he turned his full attention back to piloting.

    After the better part of two hours, he turned to me again, gesturing to the hold. "They are a lot alike."

    "Olana and Dooku?" I respected the Master a great deal, but I would never have thought to compare him to my Padawan.

    "If given a chance, Olana will become an accomplished diplomat for the Jedi, just as Dooku has been," Myren noted. "She is developing an air of leadership that draws people in. But more importantly, like the Count - and, yes, he will be Count again soon enough. Like the Count, she views loyalty and morality in personal terms. She connects to individuals, and sees her work in terms of how it affects them."

    "Have you spoken with her?" I was surprised by the confidence with which he spoke.

    "Not with the girl on this ship, no." He shared with me his amusement at my curious confusion. "We know there was some event, a couple of weeks ago, because Master Brienne and I both spoke with Olana in dreams about it. Something about 'a new teacher, a new way.' I just wanted to caution you: if the teacher is Dooku, keep a close eye on what he teaches her."

    "Why wasn't I informed?" It surprised me that Seers might receive signs so quickly from a recent change.

    "You just were." He made sure he had my full attention. "The Council of Seers isn't like the High Council. There's just the five of us, and we don't issue commands or hand down decisions, not often anyway. Mostly we talk about stuff, and one or two of us steps up to address different issues."

    "Sounds more like a working group," I offered.

    "Don't know what that means, but sure. Anyway, you know the future's been very cloudy of late. And Visions like yours - the Mace Windu Sith Vision, I mean, not the big one - seem more like nightmares than predictions."

    "I should mention," I added, "that many of the dystopian Visions probably match the future I saw. The Galactic Empire is a genuine possibility if we don't make changes."

    Master Selbek shrugged. "I won't be around to see it. I die in a year and a half." He chuckled when he saw my expression. "Calm down, young Knight. I had my pick of several destinies, as we all do. But the Force only lends us to the Galaxy for a time. I'll die with my weapon in my hand, making a difference to people who need my help. Looking forward to it, honestly."

    "Couldn't you do something now to fix the situation before it erupts into violence?"

    "Not that I've been able to figure out. I'll send you the info on Husarth Five when we get back to Coruscant, and you can tell me. Anyway, my point is this: don't let the big picture stop you from seeing the good you can do right now. That's the ever-present danger of Seers: not everything important will be shown to you in a Vision, and you can't live your whole life for some nebulous point in the future."
     
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  16. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    Known this new Master five minutes, and I already like him a lot.
     
  17. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Disclaimer: Myren Selbek and the Sunset Temple are original, not canon.

    Anything in my Star Wars stories is free for anyone to use for any purpose, with or without attribution.

    Do whatever you want with my fanfic content. I'd love to see characters, ideas, or whatnot of mine used in other places.
     
  18. Pef

    Pef I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Always funny to see the Jedi Order employ gunboat diplomacy, using mobile force nexi instead of battleships.
    Of course, it doesn't help much against real battleships.
     
  19. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    This is what Dooku has such a big problem with. Sending in a couple of Jedi to do the work of an army, is all-too-often fatal for the Jedi.
     
  20. MutantRancor

    MutantRancor [Suspected Sithspawn]

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    This. I hope he sticks around a while, he seems like a fun character.
     
  21. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    I'm tempted to steal Olana myself, though I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with her if I do. That and I need to find where she first pops up so I can get what information I can about her so she's as close to who you've written as I can get her, again if I use her at all anyway. This new guy is also pretty interesting too though, but I'd prefer to know more about him first is all. Lol that aside, I DO like what you've thrown together for this Sunset Temple thing, and the Seers that walk its halls. That's not a bad setup all told, and I like the advice he gave Obi-wan in any event.

    Agreed. :D
     
  22. R.A.G.

    R.A.G. Experienced.

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    I do like the way his past life is framed as the frame to his visions, it might even be true.
     
  23. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    O-Lana is the Force-sensitive little girl rescued in Jedi Apprentice: The Search for Truth by Jude Watson.

    She was later linked, after the fact, to the background character played by Dominique Chionchio in Episode II.

    I haven't actually introduced the Sunset Temple yet; the Seers don't live there. No one does. This will be better explained in the next chapter.
     
  24. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    If he does, it'll only be for a year and a half from the sounds of it. :cool:
     
  25. Threadmarks: Ch. 45 - Self Insert
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    "It's prettier than I expected," Olana breathed from her seat just behind us. "Everything glitters."

    We were banking around a massive glacial cliff, the sun reflecting unevenly across the landscape below. "It's even better at night," Myren replied. "Enough glowing crystals are buried under the permafrost to give the surface its own luminescence, even when the sky is overcast. Which it usually is. Ah, there we go."

    My craft pointed toward a layered break in the cliffs that, to my eyes, looked just like twenty others we'd past. I scanned the console for any readouts. "No beacon?"

    "None," the old man agreed. "Hope you were paying attention, as the number of people in the Galaxy who know how to get here just increased from nine to eleven."

    "That may be an exaggeration, Master," Olana spoke up. "The Gathering takes place every few years, I know, and many of those who take part could surely remember the way back."

    "To that temple, yes. The Sunrise Temple." He powered retro-thrusters, slowing us to almost nothing as we coasted toward yet another sheer wall of ice. "This is the Sunset Temple. We've only used it four times since I've been around."

    I asked, "How many sites are there on Ilum?"

    "There were eighteen, at one time. That we know of." Myren shut off the thrusters at the same time as we touched ground - which I only knew from the instruments; no detectable shudder at all. "We can still locate twelve of them. The downside of secrecy is the very narrow jump from 'a few people know' to 'nobody knows.'"

    I roused Master Dooku from his meditation, the four of us donning winter clothes that would have been dangerously inadequate without the on-board heating elements. Myren led the way, and Olana brought up the rear, controlling the large float-pallet that contained a surprising amount of electronics along with expected supplies and camping gear.

    It wasn't until we were within a thousand feet of the massive, jagged cave entrance that I realized it was man-made. The stone was the same bluish-grey color of the surrounding ice and carved with similar textures, a skillful camouflage. As we entered the mouth, the crunch of layered frost gave way to stone under my feet as well. The air was also rapidly getting warmer as the cave narrowed, still meandering and natural in its contours but increasingly regular in its dimensions.

    The door set in the cave wall was a miniature copy of the cave mouth, but with a carved stone surface that showed a few phrases in Basic, some of the Aurabesh characters inset with softly glowing crystals. "Myren gestured us forward. "Small amounts of energy," he prompted, "like opening a holocron. Don't try to force it too much or it'll trigger the tamper lock."

    As one, we each held a gloved hand out toward the door, drawing energy gently into it. The gems pulsed once, twice, and with a jarring crack the door slowly slid aside.

    What was revealed was, in a word, understated. The space was five rooms, two meant to be quarters and one meant as something of a galley. The space was warm, and lit dimly by inset crystals throughout. 'Cozy' came to mind.

    "It's a few minutes until dusk," Master Selbek announced. "Did everyone bring shielded eyewear?" I produced my own pair of protective goggles - a rather expensive design preferred by bounty hunters and scouts - and saw the other three each pull out a Jedi-issued pair.

    "Olana, trade me for these," I ordered.

    She shook her head. "I won't take yours. Besides, I'm not familiar with those."

    "Learn them now," I insisted, pulling the others out of her slack grip. "They're yours. I'll buy myself a second pair when we get back."

    The door wasn't shaped or decorated like the front entrance; it was a simple circular portal built like a hatch. Myren looked around to confirm our eyewear, then turned a lever to swing the door outward. "Stay close, but this is a sight worth seeing. You two have your camp gear?" Olana and I nodded.

    Through the hatch was a valley - a broad trough crossed with twisted outcroppings of brown rock, only the very highest peaks in the distance covered with snow. It stretched more than a kilometer in each direction before the uneven terrain obscured its full extent. Dotted at random within the enclosure, the kyber crystals refracted the sun's light, making the need for eye protection immediately clear. The valley was desert-bright, to the extent of visibility. I could see some cut sandstone a fair distance in, but otherwise, this all appeared to be a natural formation.

    "Where we take the kids," Myren explained, "is called the Sunrise Temple because it opens when the sun rises and warms the ice. The trials are taken during the day.” He gestured out toward the bright valley. “This is the Sunset Temple for the same reason: the Valley of Mists is only active at night. Any minute now.”

    We waited in contemplative silence as the sun touched the edge of the sky and slipped behind the obscuring peaks with surprising speed. It took very little time at all for the warm tones of the valley to fade to paler hues as the sunlight gave way to the crystals’ internal glows.

    As the light faded, the mists rolled in, thick and swirling, seeming to cling but loosely to the features of the valley even as they obscured them. In a very few minutes, only the highest peaks were left unobscured by the vapor-filled air. A few dull globs of light remained, not entirely extinguished by the mists but certainly dimmed. I felt the chill that accompanied this change, and although I had seen that the valley was empty of visible plant or animal life just minutes before, it no longer felt so.

    We followed Myren’s lead in removing our eye protection and trekking slowly into the valley. Although we walked on solid rock, our boots made little sound, muffled by some property of the tense space.

    It was nearly a quarter hour before we reached the clearing, a circle of hewn and fitted stone like the imprint of some massive hammer on the irregular valley. In the center of the space was a small recess, and here the old Master carefully produced a single crystal, unwrapped from several layers of cloth. He bent to place the crystal in the center of the clearing, and stood back as pulsing radiance outlined geometric hairline cracks in the circular surface. The light seemed to flow, not outward from the crystal, but inward toward it.

    Nodding in satisfaction, Master Sebrek gestured around at the clearing, and then at me and Olana. “This is where you two will spend your nights. Be here by an hour after sundown. Attune to the crystal for at least an hour, and then be asleep by midnight. Here’s an alarm to warn you to return to the temple proper before sunrise.”

    Olana asked, “What are we supposed to do?”

    The old man responded by reaching to take her pack off of her back, unfolding the portable cot. “One night, you’ll wake up and the key crystal will be missing. Bring it back.”

    “That’s it?” Olana couldn’t help herself asking.

    Myrek rolled his eyes. “Of course not. The mists will manifest illusions from your mind, which you’ll need to interact with to get the stone back. Well, his mind. Obi-wan attunes to the crystal; you just keep him company.” He nodded to Dooku. “The Count and I -”

    “Not quite yet, I’m afraid,” Dooku interjected.

    “Soon enough. Anyway, Master Dooku and I will sleep in the temple quarters at night, and we’ll all convene together for meals and training during the day. This shouldn’t take more than a week.”

    *****

    Among his other talents, Myren was a decent cook, and he’d bought a variety of frozen foodstuffs for our stay. Cold storage was plentiful on the ice planet of Ilum.

    It was lunch on the second day when Dooku nodded to my left bracer. “I’ve not noticed any change in your dueling style since you added that piece. What is its purpose?”

    “I use it as the interface for a combat computer,” I explained, and felt the incredulity from all other three Jedi at the table.

    “Kid, I hate to tell you this," Myren chided, "but unless you've managed to put some sort of time-reverse circuitry in that thing, it's not going to help you in a lightsaber duel. You're already accounting for two or three tenths of a second in the future just from basic Force perception. Computers are necessarily slower than that."

    "As a control scheme, yes." I slurped a spoonful of hot soup. "That's not how I'm using it."

    *****

    "What do you suppose we'll see?" I asked Olana as we prepared to turn in for the fourth time. As cold as it was, we'd quickly pushed our bedrolls together on the first night. I always awoke first, and made sure to pry her arms from around me and reposition her in her own bag before she could wake up and feel embarrassed by it.

    “The point of this,” Olana considered, “is to confront your Visions, and their relationship to reality. So I suspect we’ll interact with something from your Visions. Important people, maybe, or alternate versions of them. Live through different events.”

    “Well, hopefully it will give you more insight into what I’ve seen, then, in addition to helping me overcome my own issues. But I guess we’ll see.”

    *****

    At an hour past midnight, it wasn’t the feeling of dread that awakened us, or the rasping of things moving around outside the clearing. No, it was the gunshots.

    The loud cracks echoed around the area, and were only after accompanied by loud moans that I didn’t immediately recognize. Olana sprang to her feet within moments of me, our lightsabers both coming to life in our hands. This eliminated the otherwise dark clearing: the crystal was gone, and so were the glowing patterns that had given us light these past nights.

    “What was that loud noise? A small explosion?” Olana asked.

    “Sort of,” I explained. “That’s what small arms fire from Earth sounds like. They use slugthrower weapons, pushing metal instead of plasma, so the vibrations are much louder.”

    “Earth, as in where your Visions supposedly came from?” Olana and I were each reaching our senses out, trying to determine what awaited within the mists. Nothing.

    “That’s what we were expecting, right?” I reminded her. “Something involving my Visions, something we can confront.”

    “And that something is?” she prompted.

    “Let’s find out.” I gestured for her to follow me, and slowly approached the mist with my saber drawn.

    I didn’t make it out of the clearing before the thing shambled into view. The waxy skin and vacant expression above blood-smeared lips, the rotting eyeballs. I sent it flying away from us with a wave of my empty hand; it responded to the Force like an inanimate object rather than a living thing.

    No sooner had it left my sight than two others bounded into view, clumsy but no less single-minded in their approach. My senses told me they were no more alive than the ground; whether this was the nature of the Force illusion clearly powering this, or the fact that they were dead, I had no idea.

    “What are these things?” Olana asked. More had appeared from the opposite side of the clearing; Olana sliced through two with ease.

    “Zombies,” I explained to Olana. “Reanimated corpses. Not real on Earth, either - fictional.”

    “And what do they represent?”

    “I really have no idea.” I decapitated one, and no sooner had it hit the ground then it evaporated into mist. The two Olana had taken down did the same. “I gather we’re supposed to fight through them to find the crystal. They’re mainly only dangerous in numbers, so if we move quickly enough -”

    “No need,” a gravelly voice said as a man stepped into the clearing. In one hand he held a Glock pistol; in the other was a small girl not more than three. The girl wasn’t dressed like him; he wore jeans and a button-down shirt over a prodigious stomach, while she was dressed in the smallest version of a youngling’s Jedi garb. I looked into the set of eyes that I’d always found to be ice-cold, no expression ever visible, even when I had them on my own face. “Hand it to her, sweetie,” he said in a softer, smoother tone, limping badly as he hauled the small child toward my Olana.

    The little girl held the glowing crystal carefully in both hands, and without a word handed it to my Padawan before burying her face in the man’s flabby chest. “Go ahead,” he prompted. “Put it back, Olana.”

    A fresh group of shambling corpses emerged from the mist, but were just as quickly chopped down by a pair of Jedi blades. The pair in Jedi robes followed. An old man, weather-worn and scowling, entered side-by-side with a young woman wearing just as serious an expression.

    Olana turned to me, then at my nod, sank the crystal quickly into its place in the clearing. The moans, and dull scraping sounds, both ceased. A single zombie, halfway out of the mists, fell to the ground as though incinerated.

    "Sorry to short circuit things," the man's voice growled again, "but the zombies were scaring O-Lana. And I have the Glock, so I figured this was fine." He panted audibly, his voice changing tone again. "Dearest, Obi-wan is here."

    The girl immediately popped up and looked around, fixating on me with a huge grin. She leapt from her perch with abandon, he and I collectively made the transfer without dropping her.

    "And so we arrive," the old man intoned, his weapon sheathed as he approached us. "And confront the follies of youth. Or perhaps its greater wisdom?"

    "I'll go ahead and tell you: I wasn't any wiser back then," the adult woman said. "Quite the opposite." She stepped up to Olana, and there was no concealing the resemblance. A decade and a half had added almost a foot in height, but these were clearly phases of life of the same person.

    "Hey guys," the large man spoke up to the two older Jedi as he checked and holstered his firearm. "Don't take this further than it goes. We're manifestations of their minds, not the other way around. We won't actually be any more knowledgeable or wiser than they are."

    "Who are you supposed to be?" Olana was looking from one person to another with confusion.

    "The past and the future. Or, a lost future, anyway," the old man replied. "Obi-wan Kenobi, Master in exile, hiding from the Empire. Safeguarding the remaining hope of the Galaxy."

    "General Olana Chion," the young woman said. "Jedi Knight. Loyal to the Republic, fighting to the end."

    The other man finished. "She's three-year-old O-Lana, recently of Kegan, now starting her training at the Jedi Temple. And I," he turned to my Padawan, extending a hand warmly, "am Adam G. Pugh, attorney at law. Nice to meet you."
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
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  26. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    Oof.
     
  27. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    ..........Huh, (said in a very Malcolm Reynolds voice.) Lol this is shaping up to be quite interesting though, so I'm all for this playing out to its conclusion. That said, what's with the Walking Dead rip off zombies? :p
     
  28. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    What does "oof" mean?
     
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  29. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    I was making the generic "hurt" sound from videogames because this chapter really hit me hard. Your deconstruction of the standard "force vision" tropes was really poiniapoignant. It tempting adam-wan about the possibility of bringing his "earth" self to the star wars universe? Is it going to force him to cut away Adam? Is it showing that adam-wan is not coping well with the possibility that his previous life was a hallucination? I really liked the scene but because it's still ongoing I don't know how it concludes so I didn't have much to say. So I just hit post on the first thing I thought of because usually I'm commenting on very popular fics and my posts get lost.
     
  30. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    Star Wars has slug-throwers. You could have just called it that, instead of "blasters from Earth."
     
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