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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. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    While you're not wrong, our slug throwers and their slug throwers are VERY different. :p That and Star Wars slug throwers aren't all that common in any event.
     
  2. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Fair point. I honestly forgot those were a thing.

    Will probably modify slightly.
     
  3. MutantRancor

    MutantRancor [Suspected Sithspawn]

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    Aurabesh. That's also the name of the Galaxy Far Far Away's alphabet, rather than the language itself (Galactic Standard Basic, usually shortened to Basic), so you might want to rephrase for clarity.

    That said, enjoyable chapter. You're raising some intriguing questions about Obi-Wan Insertnobi... Insert-Wan Kenobi.... There's no way to make that not sound stupid, is there? Anyway, you're raising some intriguing questions about the nature of his relationship with 9adam4 , and maybe Olana's reaction to getting the whole story, that I eagerly await the upcoming answers to.
     
  4. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    People have been using "Adam-wan."

    Looks like this chapter needs some editing.
     
  5. Pef

    Pef Versed in the lewd.

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    Slug throwers in SW are exactly that. Basically, they are magnetically accelerated metal rounds. Thus the throw part is quite correct. I found no mention of gunpowder in SW lore, although is possible some non-space faring worlds have it.

    Also:
    The either is not needed. Plenty zombies in SW, at least a dozen varieties, including Sith plagues and such.
    Perhaps phrase that as : "On Earth they are only fiction."
     
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  6. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    Ah yes, introducing your padawan to the at-laws.
     
  7. Threadmarks: Ch. 46 - Unwelcome Introspection, pt. 1
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    "This interface is garbage," Adam muttered as he ran through the holographic timeline. "We're one planet that has had computers for less than a century, and we have more intuitive devices than this."

    "Intuitive to whom?" My fourteen-year-old apprentice asked.

    "Sorry, dear?" The spike in his frustration had been momentary. By the time he'd finished voicing his complaint, he'd already moved on from it; he certainly hadn't expected a response. But he looked up from the device and gave the girl his attention.

    Olana seemed… annoyed… by his strident attitude. "Intuitive to whom? Humans, I assume? How narrowly tailored do you think we should make our devices so they're better tailored to humans?" He nodded and opened his mouth to respond, but she continued. "And which humans, exactly? Which set of light conditions? What surface capacitance, what temperature range? Which assumed technology level, which reading format, which culture? How many sentients do we exclude in order to make you, sir, marginally better at navigating the menu?"

    "You're saying that the clunky interface maximizes universality. I didn't understand that. Thank you." He glanced at me, firing off, "An excellent example of my larger point," before resuming his rapid perusal of my notes.

    "... which is what?" The oldest Olana finally asked after a pregnant pause.

    "I add nothing here. Obi-wan already retains whatever aspects of my memories and thoughts are useful, and has seven years of living in this Galaxy to contextualize it."

    "We aren't here to provide new knowledge or skills," the oldest Obi-wan noted from where he sat, near the misty edge of the clearing. "We are here to give young Kenobi here perspective, an opportunity to confront himself."

    "Excuse me," my Padawan interjected, "but there are six of us here, and only three different names. Can we decide on whom to call what?"

    "We can use Ewan, Alec, and Dominique," Adam suggested. This merited a confused look from both my Olana and her older version, which amused him to no end.

    "The actors' names," I explained. "I don't think that works."

    "You can call me Ben," the old man offered.

    "Chion will do for me," the eldest Olana supplied.

    "Sounds like a plan," Adam agreed, pointing to the members of each trio in turn, oldest to youngest:. "Ben, Obi-wan, Adam for us three. Chion, Olana, and Lana for you. Any objection? Good then."

    Olana frowned at Adam, turning to me. "He just… decides. Hands down proclamations, almost."

    Despite her comment being directed to me, the Earth man scowled and addressed it. "Wait patiently for consensus resolution, and little gets solved. You can feel very good about the twenty percent that you accomplish with full, thoughtful participation from everyone, as the eighty percent languishes." He groaned audibly as he lifted his bulk from the ground, looming over the girl. He was noticeably taller than anyone else. "Jump in and provide an answer yourself, and you might completely screw it up a third of the time. Maybe even half the time. But you still end up getting more done right than if you waited on consensus."

    Chion glared. "And if more than one person 'jumps in'?"

    He grinned; it was more predatory than pleasant. "Great! As long as neither person is fool enough to get territorial about it."

    "Wouldn't it be better for people to properly focus on what they're best at?" Olana challenged.

    "Fine, if you can get folks to agree. But note that people overestimate their abilities in areas where they are inexperienced, and underestimate their abilities in areas where they are skilled. Plus, we all have other biases to take into account.” He stopped himself, and frowned, considering something. “Let me take a closer look at that timeline.” When no one challenged him, Adam trudged as far away as he could get from the rest of us in the clearing before re-opening the portable projector.

    “You know,” Ben mused, “over the years, there were any number of times where the abilities of a Seer might have saved us quite a bit of trouble. It certainly seems to fit your personality, Obi-wan.”

    Chion said to Ben, “Master Kenobi was never without confidence about his path, or the future. There was always speculation that you were a hidden Seer.”

    Ben smiled, chuckling quietly. “No, I was stumbling around in the dark from one impossible situation to another. I can’t imagine anyone would choose the path I did if they could actually see it ahead of time.”

    “How can you say that?” Chion asked. “You accomplished so much, fought against injustice, over and over again. We’re all flawed, Obi-wan… I mean, Ben… but I can’t see abandoning any of the people or planets you saved. What would they do, if you had diverged from the path?”

    Ben gave a nod to acknowledge the point. “But what of those the Order could not save, who fell at the hands of pirates, the Separatists, the Loyalists, or the Republic? Those caught up in the machinations of corrupt and evil men. Those who happened to be on the losing side of costly and destructive conflicts that meant nothing to them.”

    “Like you said,” Olana pointed out, “you didn’t know the future. Neither of you did, right? You did everything you could.”

    “An impossible standard,” I said. “We don’t just fail to exceed the limits of our abilities; we inevitably fall well short of our true potential.”

    “Which is not an excuse to do less,” Ben admonished. “It is a motivation to do more.” He adjusted his robes wearily. “The Galaxy is full of enough injustice, atrocity, and tyranny to fill a thousand lifetimes. There is always more that can be done to help.”

    “Is that why we’re here?” Olana asked, turning to me. “To see what we become, when we reach our full potential?”

    “Perhaps,” Chion said slyly, pulling her lightsaber hilt from her belt. “Would you like a demonstration?”

    “The way of the Jedi is to be a path of peace,” Ben said, “and yet how quickly did we send our children to war.”

    “To preserve the Republic,” Chion insisted.

    “Oh, I know,” Ben agreed. “But a war changes any democratic society. The moment we took up arms in earnest, led soldiers into pitched battle, we were preserving a different Republic. A different Jedi Order.”

    “The Order, at least,” I noted, “was a warrior culture long before the Clone Wars. Knights define themselves by combat, even in peacetime.”

    "So do police," Chion replied. "There is honor in having the strength to defend others."

    A choking noise came from Adam in the corner, although he didn't look away from the holo-display. "Honor is a poor proxy for character," he rumbled. "Plenty of 'honorable' men are evil when the lights cut out."

    "Honor is like any other currency," I disagreed. “Its value depends on how others in society react to it. Being known to be an honorable person, or part of an honorable group, can open doors.”

    The general frowned. “But you don’t value it, inherently?”

    “Honor is a multifaceted concept. I inherently value the part that implies personal integrity and consistency, or ‘character’ as he put it.” I nodded to my Earth counterpart. “The part of honor that is about reputation and glory: the value in that is pragmatic, not intrinsic.”

    Olana observed, “If you didn’t care what the people around you thought of you, it wouldn’t matter if you had honor.”

    “Honor was taken from us, in the end,” Ben told us. “The Empire made no short work of sullying the reputation of the Jedi, saddling us with crimes against the Galaxy, and pointing to the evil attitudes of the Order as being at the heart of it.”

    We fell to silence for a minute after that, broken only by an incongruous bark, “Ha!” from Adam in the corner.

    “What next, then?” Chion asked. “We’ve gone over at least the basics of your actions and plans, and I see no reason to think you’ve averted the Clone Wars. They might play out differently without the same level of backing from powers you’ve done more to damage, and the explicit Jedi involvement in growing and training the Army of the Republic will certainly have some effect,” that got me a brief approving look, “but we’re still talking about a conflict devastating to many worlds. One that we clearly lost, since it led directly to the Empire, even if we’re unable to recall how.”

    Olana spoke up. “Padme and I are unconvinced of that.”

    “I wasn’t aware that you’d been speaking with Queen Amidala,” I admitted.

    “It was Artoo’s idea, because we’d both been peppering him with the same sort of questions about the timeline,” my student explained. She turned back to her older counterpart. “What I mean is, we’re not convinced that the Republic lost the war. Padme says that the portrayal of the Galactic Empire is more consistent with a decisive victory over the Separatists, followed by an internal coup. If a leader or group of leaders were able to claim credit for saving the Galactic Republic in the war, that might give them the support they would need both politically and militarily to establish the Empire.”

    Chion nodded. “We certainly received our share of glory during the war. A dark Jedi, disguised as a victorious general… it fits.”

    “Many different scenarios fit,” Ben reminded us, “when we’re missing so many key pieces of the puzzle. We can’t truly anticipate the future, even if we think we’ve seen it.”

    Adam's gravelly voice was louder, this time, as he hauled himself to his feet again. "And so we find ourselves circling back to the initial question: why are we all here? Why the four of us, to serve what purpose for the two of you?" He handed the holo-display back to me. "The new file on there is encrypted, for Artoo only. Please don't try to open it."

    I frowned. "Didn't we already establish that you're just a part of my mind? You know what I know?"

    He nodded. "But not the converse. I don't think there's any process for you to acquire memories of my new experiences. For the best, in this case.”

    “This is the matter that Artoo asks us to help with, but won’t explain why?” Olana asked.

    I nodded. “He’s made it clear it’s better if we don’t pester him about it; I get the impression he wished we wouldn’t think about it either.”

    “Which leads you to believe,” Ben said, “that our droid companion is investigating what is clouding your mind.”

    “Directly or indirectly,” I agreed. I glanced at Adam, but a stony expression looked back. He wasn’t giving anything away.

    “This ends at sunrise,” Chion noted. “Four more hours, give or take. So,” she stepped to closest outcropping with a nearly vertical surface, and leaned against it, “what now?”

    I felt a hand tug at the corner of my robe, and looked down at its tiny owner. The Jedi robes, small as they were, managed to look oversized on the wisp of a girl. I knelt in front of her, and softly asked, “What is it, Lana?”

    “Where are we?” she asked simply.

    I saw from the corner of my eye as Adam took a step forward, than stopped, his hands half outstretched to the girl already. Years ago, when I… when Adam had first become a father, it had become part of his core identity to take charge of any small child in distress, to hold and comfort and protect. But we both saw that Lana leaned back, keeping hold of my clothes and clearly claiming me, rather than him, as her protector. Adam nodded with a resigned half-smirk and kept his distance.

    I took the hint, though, and helped Lana to climb into my arms, held against one hip, similar to how Adam had carried her before. To her question, I answered, “We are in a sacred place, so that Olana and I can remember you. Is that okay?”

    She leaned in, swiping her nose back and forth on my shoulder. Then she nodded. “Yeah. I’m glad you ‘member me.”

    Adam cleared his throat. “The question is still why? What do the four of us have in common, something that can be worked out in one night?”

    “You may be giving the Temple, here, too much credit,” I pointed out. “We can’t know for certain that every element of the encounter is a planned part of a deliberate message. Some of it may just be pulling from our minds in a particular way.”

    “Just your mind, I think,” Olana said. “I’m getting emotional readings and surface thoughts from all four of them, and each has a… it’s hard to describe, but a ‘flavor’ that reminds me of you, Master.”

    “Even Lana and I?” Chion asked, and Olana nodded.

    “That would explain why I can’t read anything, mentally, from them,” I agreed. “They’re all technically just extensions of my mind.”

    “So... “ Olana nodded to Lana, who had settled against my shoulder and seemed happy to watch and listen. “Is this how you see me? The young, helpless toddler you rescued all those years ago?” Her emotions were well-concealed, and even her face was coached to neutrality.

    I swallowed, but nodded. “I have been deliberately trying to see you more as the independent young woman you’ve clearly become, but yes. My instincts are still very much like my Vision counterpart’s, there: to comfort and protect you. We destroyed your life on Kegan, me and Siri. I want to give you a better one.”

    I looked down at the little girl in my hands, and the memories came almost unbidden: the frantic running and fighting; the impossible fights. The frightened girl who became an unwilling focal point for a societal revolt. “Do you remember, when you first came to the temple?” I asked her. “How one of the two of us, me or Siri, had to stay with you at night?”

    “Hey, look,” Adam pointed to the nearest formless mist… or what had been formless. It had defined shape now, and it showed the translucent scene of two Padawans contently falling asleep, a tiny bundle of wiggling energy between them.

    Olana approached the misty figures, noting where the edges of the white mist had rolled back away from them. “Yes, I needed you then. And you never let me down, either. You or Siri, either one. You were always there for me, in those first months. Later…”

    The two adults evaporated, and the form of little Lana climbed off of the big bed and into a smaller bunk. She slept soundly, there, and was awakened in the morning by the beaming faces of her age-mates. I felt emotion coming from them, too; it was faint, but clearly showed genuine interest and affection.

    “Later, I adapted.” Leaping out of bed, the girl followed the laughing, running forms of the others. They played, read, ate together. The images were a mishmash, and would have been hard to understand if not for the strong emotional impressions that accompanied each one. “They welcomed me; I was part of the family. I had big brothers and sisters. And as I grew…” Gradually, little Lana was bigger, and rather than following others, she was leading them, “... I became the big sister. The one that all the younglings know they can come to with anything.”

    The background and other figures faded until only the misty form of Lana was left… and she wasn’t Lana anymore. She matched the size and stance of my apprentice. As I continued watching, the illusory form of Olana walked confidently to the real thing, and faded into her. She didn’t flinch; she simply nodded her acceptance.

    “So, you see,” she smiled, “I am still your student, Obi-wan. I still respect you, admire your wisdom and your skill. But I am not,” she nodded to the form on my shoulder. “I am not O-Lana of Kegan. Not a little girl in need of a caregiver. I’m the Padawan, Olana Chion. And I need a Master to teach me.”

    I felt little Lana stir on my shoulder. “That’s right. Okay!” she said, and pushed at me to let her down. When I did, she bounded over to Olana, and let the fourteen-year-old pick her up in a tight and sincere embrace. The mist rolled forward again, enveloping them both… and when it swirled away, Olana stood alone.

    After a stunned silence, it was General Chion who spoke next. “That… didn’t make any sense.”

    “To the contrary,” Ben offered. “The little girl showed a flaw in Obi-wan’s relationship with Olana. He clung to an outdated view of her, refusing to recognize her achieved maturity. Once they acknowledged the issue, Lana could go.”

    Chion mused. “So, in the remaining three hours, we need to fix the rest of Obi-wan’s relationships?”

    “His mistakes in thinking,” Adam corrected. “The places where he’s holding onto something he shouldn’t. And we don’t have to fix the mistakes; we just need to bring them to light. Somehow. So,” he gave his predatory grin again, “who’s next?”
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  8. Vergil1989 Crossover King

    Vergil1989 Crossover King Experienced.

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    Huh, that certainly makes a lot of sense. I like it. :D
     
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  9. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    I am very worried that Adam not come off as a Mary Sue. The result is probably not very likeable.

    I promise that in person I am nicer than this.
     
  10. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    Sure you are ;)
     
  11. Pef

    Pef Versed in the lewd.

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    The big problem however, is that this Obi 1 is not Obi Wan from canon.

    That guy is dead, and someone else stole his body.

    Trying to reconcile a fractured psyche of a dead Force user (and possibly even an energy spirit by now) with the human from Earth that moved in to replace the original...do they even have anything in common?

    Were you raised by smiling priests and taught you may own nothing, nor love anyone?

    Did you train like crazy in saber combat or got diplomacy courses to 'negotiate' with any of a million species?

    Were you kidnapped from your parents and deprived of family and playgrounds, in favor of religious lessons and detachment from emotion?

    Did you kill a dozen pirates by the age of 12? Up close, their sliced brains fried and smelling of Thai food?
     
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  12. elif

    elif Know what you're doing yet?

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    This uses a false premise - that the system must be universal. How can a multi solar system polity not have a diverse selection of computer hardware and software ergonomic and intuitive to different species? Especially for an order that places special emphasis on the creation of a custom and personalized sword. More people use computers more often then Jedi use their sabers. There HAS to be non-generic options.

    That said, there's no reason Adam should be comfortable with a tool that the locals are comfortable with. Different socialization, culture - companies like Microsoft and Apple incentivize the placement of their hardware and software in schools precisely because the first interface someone learns becomes 'normal'.

    Without that, I'm sure Adam thinks this new not-mouse and 3D workspace is ridiculous bullshit.

    Just. It ain't because the republic with an entire information trade planet as the capital only has generic software and hardware.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  13. MutantRancor

    MutantRancor [Suspected Sithspawn]

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    Obi-Wan didn't become a Padawan until age thirteen, and if I'm remembering the Jedi Apprentice books correctly he got trounced in his first encounter with pirates shortly thereafter, because the pirate in question was a Togorian twice his height who massively out-ranged him due to longer arms. He spent the first couple of books getting beaten in every fight he got in that mattered, and only ever accomplished his goals with wit and stealth. Then he started winning, just in time to accidentally kill someone he was trying to take alive.

    Young Obi-Wan could only ever win a fight if it would be more trouble than losing, and this chapter seems to confirm that Adam-Wan had pretty similar experiences over that same time period -- at least close enough to get the same mission that led to meeting O-Lana, several books into the series. That means that he barely ever killed anyone, and the ones he did were Disney Villain Deaths rather than up close and personal.

    When Adam-Wan's actions diverged from Obi-Wan Original Flavor hasn't been established yet, but it was definitely much later than you're suggesting that he started leaving a trail of dead criminals.
     
  14. Pef

    Pef Versed in the lewd.

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    Padawans are child soldiers, taken into the field by their Masters to be bloodied and desensitized.

    Just watch the TV series of Clone Wars. Ahsoka kills hundreds of people up close.
    Sure, she never gets splattered by blood, guts and other fluids (for PG reasons maybe)...but the smell of pork still lingers.

    Also, that series roughly reflects the reality of the Outer Rim, where Jedi are good friends with pirates and slavers, because they deny the Republic the right to have its own troops or ships.

    The Jedi are enough (as keepers of peace in the galaxy), and when they need ships or fighters, they rapidly conscript local pirates for the mission.

    Thus, the Jedi attempt to preserve the status quo, which keeps them in power, while half the galaxy is ruled by tyrants, slavers and pirates. (RIP Shmi Skywalker and trillions like her)

    Meanwhile, planets far from the Core are taxed heavily, but denied investments and defense by the older and entrenched polities in the Core.
    And so the CIS starts, even without any Sith to cause it.


    Sure, Palpatine is clever and places Dooku into a leader position over the CIS, but that's mere smart politics.

    All big leaders rise simply by placing themselves at the head of a rising movement. The momentum of a huge mass of people might carry you even to the top, if you're the one yelling the loudest.
     
  15. MutantRancor

    MutantRancor [Suspected Sithspawn]

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    Jedi Padawans are child diplomats, taken into the field by their masters to gain experience in dealing with various species and cultures before being put in charge of something that could start a war if mishandled.

    The Clone Wars are not normal for Jedi. The closest to what you're describing that Young Obi-Wan experienced was either the Stark Hyperspace War or the Melida/Daan civil war. The former was all of three engagements long, two in space and the third more a siege than a battle. The latter was in a book I never acquired, so I'm a bit vague on the details, but Obi-Wan was both still on his losing streak and there as a mediator (at least originally), so I highly doubt he did anything like slaughtering enemies by the score.

    I've seen enough episodes of Clone Wars to know that your claim regarding Ahsoka is exaggerated to an absurd degree, unless you're counting B1-series battle droids as people -- which nobody in-universe does, because a smartphone voice assistant is smarter.
     
  16. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    This part I agree with.

    On an absolute scale, the B1s are smarter than smartphones, but I agree that they don't really give the impression of sapience, just of limited VIs with a presumably-cheap personality overlay.
     
  17. Pef

    Pef Versed in the lewd.

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    The B1s never live long enough to gain true sapience.
    But I bet you won't say that about 3PO, especially after the scene where he takes 'a last look at his friends'

    And genosians, trandoshans, clonetroopers and stormtroopers are all certainly people.
    And the Clone Wars start on Genosia.
     
  18. MutantRancor

    MutantRancor [Suspected Sithspawn]

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    It's not just a matter of time, it's a matter of hardware and software. Class Three protocol droids have the potential to develop complex personalities, if memory wipes don't reset the process. Class Four battle droids don't. Here's the explanation of droid classes.

    Ahsoka wasn't assigned to Anakin until after the Battle of Geonosis was over, and even if she had been there that still doesn't mean that she killed hundreds of Geonosians. With how many Jedi were there, if every Padawan killed that many there'd be no population left! Even Anakin, a particularly trigger-happy Jedi, killed less than ten on-screen.

    Trandoshans living off of Trandosha are relatively rare, and not numerous enough where they do appear to constitute a sizable fraction of the hundreds you claim. Ahsoka definitely didn't kill any clones troopers before Order 66, except if they went crazy and tried to kill her first. As for Stormtroopers post-Order 66, I haven't gotten to Rebels yet but being a hunted fugitive is no more normal to the Jedi Order than the Clone Wars.

    It doesn't really matter what Ahsoka does in either series, because the subject at hand is what the normal experience of a Jedi in the last twenty-odd years before the Clone Wars would have been like, not the extreme abnormal experiences of a Jedi in wartime who spends all her time in close proximity to a war hero with a reputation for attacking against all odds.
     
  19. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    She was at the Second Battle of Geonosis, and probably killed at least one Geonosian there. I tend to agree with you that her experience is atypical, though. I suspect that most Jedi during the Clone Wars killed few or no organic sapients (or sapient droids, for that matter) directly, and probably not that many indirectly. If anyone is really that invested in the discussion, I'm sure that there are websites online somewhere maintained by obsessive nerds who counted up every onscreen death in the Clone Wars cgi cartoon, and enumerated the kill counts of each character that they considered important enough. I'm not invested enough to put much effort into it, but for what it's worth, here's a lazy Google search that I did.
     
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  20. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    You say that, but we've seen multiple instances that go directly against this. Such as the general fact that B-1 Battle Droids are comic relief, you can't have comic relief without personality. Not to mention earlier models of Assassin droid like HK-47, but to be fair the HK series was also far more advanced than the norm, being perfectly serviceable as protocol droids in addition to their assassin protocols.
     
  21. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    B1s all have practically the same personality, though, and you can have a simple personality without full sapience.
     
  22. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    They're all born from the exact same seed, and you can have full sapience without a complex personality. What matters is consciousness and awareness, not complexity of thought.

    Simply because a person is less mentally capable doesn't make them any less of a person after all, which I believe we can both agree on.
     
    miserable coward likes this.
  23. tronax

    tronax Making the rounds.

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    I think this story is relatively well written.

    But there is one thing that ruins it for me greatly. The fake suspension, when everything revolves around some mystery that characters work to unravel, but which is known to the reader from the start. It isn't bad when is small quantities. It isn't bad when there are other significant plotlines. But when everything is about it... really ruins the fun and brings needless frustration. Imo.

    It is obviously intentional. And I'm not saying that it is bad by itself or would be seen as such. I'm saying that it can be seen as a flaw.

    P.S.
    Somewhere in the middle: "The truth was that most of the time my opponents weren't fast enough to take advantage of my slight hesitation - probably no more than half a second - as I decided to change up my technique". Half second is ton of time in a fight. There is literally no chance that there would be anyone, even rookie that would be slower than himself with such huge delay. If he was that slow, even entirely untrained people would often beat him. He'd be laughed at by most 4 y/o younglings with such enormous reaction delay, because yes, even small kids are faster than that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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  24. Threadmarks: Ch. 47 - Unwelcome introspection, pt. 2
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    [Content Warning: Real world religion and personal tragedy. TLDR at the beginning of the next chapter.]

    “I’ll admit, I thought you’d be upset,” I told my Earth counterpart. “It was a decision that took me a long time to come to.”

    “Meh.” Adam briefly threw up a hand in dismissal. “The primacy of divine revelation has always been an important point in Christianity’s favor on Earth. If you find yourself in a galaxy that’s never heard of Jesus Christ - that has no enduring tradition of God made flesh - it would make sense to reconsider.”

    “I’m still not understanding this shift in topic,” Olana mentioned.

    “I’m a monotheist,” Adam explained. “An adherent to a very mainstream Earth religion. One that emphasizes personal guilt and forgiveness.”

    “Religions all seek the same truth, pointing towards the reality of the Force,” Ben insisted.

    “Except we don’t have the Force in my Galaxy, at least not that we know of,” Adam said. “Psychic phenomena don’t seem to actually occur; certainly nothing as unambiguous as what happens here.”

    “So,” Chion asked, “on Earth they do not have to explain away Force powers, because there aren’t any… but they invent religions anyway?”

    I interjected before Adam could respond. “Let’s venture away from the topic of Earth religions, please? I don’t think that’s where my cognition needs to be changed; do you?”

    “It is possible,” Ben said, “that you have some lingering guilt regarding your abandonment of your old beliefs. That could be why Adam is here.”

    I paused to consider the matter. “I don’t believe so,” I finally concluded. “Yes, my faith was important to me. But by the time of,” I gestured vaguely to Adam, “you, it was the shared community aspects of faith that had taken center stage in my life. Having lost my church - my family - and having a new connection to my spirit through the Force, I’m comfortable I made the right decision.”

    “I think you touched on it, though,” Olana added. Her voice was gentle, and I realized she was preparing to say something I wouldn’t want to hear.

    “On what?” I was finally able to make eye contact as she looked towards me.

    “Your family,” is what she led with, and I endured a wash of grief and panic and she continued. “Your wife and sons. I don’t think you’ve gotten over them.”

    “Over this way,” Chion pointed. The mist on one side was swirling again, opening into what I immediately recognized as a hospital room...

    Jeanine, beautiful in her spent exhaustion, slept as Adam jerked awake to the baby’s sudden cry.

    “Comin’ buddy,” he announced as he scooped up the baby in one practiced motion. The newborn started cooing and Adam immediately began shushing noises, poking the little mouth to make sure he wasn’t hungry, checking to see if he needed a change. When neither seemed to be the issue, he made sure the swaddling was tight and rocked the baby back and forth, singing a lullaby in his high clear voice as he looked down at the blinking eyes that met his. “I love you, Andrew, oh yes I do…”

    The cry hadn’t awakened her, but the singing did. “He hungry, baby?” came the weakened voice from the narrow hospital bed.

    “No, just restless. I’ll have him back down in a minute.” The baby’s eyes were already starting to close. Adam carefully sat down as Andrew faded fully to sleep. “Don’t worry, son. Your momma and I will always be here for you. We love you so much...”

    “I’ve gotten pretty good at that. Baby number three, and all.” Adam had trundled up to stand next to me as I watched the scene unfold. “It was nice of Jeanine’s parents to watch the first two while we had this one.”

    “A moment of calm before the storm,” I said.

    “More like the eye of the storm,” he added. “Remember all the crap surrounding Zach’s school transfer, me taking a new job, and then… well…”

    Adam was perched at an awkward position over the hospital bed, his lip’s meeting his wife’s carefully without lowering any of his bulk onto her reclined form. “Statistically speaking,” he murmured, words clearly meant for her alone, “you’re going to be fine. These sorts of internal injuries are a routine complication. The doctor knows exactly where the problem is and how to fix it.”

    “I know, but nothing’s gone routine with this pregnancy,” she said. “One in ten thousand, and I’m the one.” Her hands were constantly moving, touching his shoulder, running against his arm. “I love you. And you know what to tell the boys, if…”

    “I love you, too. The boys will be fine. Other than missing you.” He grabbed her hand, entwined it in his own. “You really will be fine, you know. And you’ll come home and have that full household of boys to look after.”

    “Don’t remind me,” she sighed. “At least you’re here. Thank you for being here. Your job --”

    “They understand, trust me. They’d be angry at me if I didn’t take the time I needed to be with you.”

    “And you know I’d understand if they needed you. I’m not working now. We’re depending on you.”

    “And you always can,” Adam insisted. “You have my heart, Jeanine. Whatever happens, you come first. I’ll always be here.”

    “I know. It’s still scary.” Her knuckles were white where she squeezed his hand.

    “Yeah. Let’s pray…”

    I looked over at Adam as I felt it: that cold inhuman rage. The clarity that had always descended whenever I felt a threat to my loved ones. Bringing down the Hammer of God, I used to call it in school, before a bully found himself in the hospital, or just ostracized from his friend group. I tried to be less ruthless when bringing down bad adults, but the feeling was the same.

    I remembered how it felt sitting in the waiting room waiting to hear the outcome of her surgery: the anger had burned, searing something inside of me. Everyone had acted beautifully: caring nurses, a competent doctor, supportive friends and family. There was no one to hurt. Nothing I could do. Just wait, and fume, and pray.

    “I assume you remember this, because I do,” Adam spoke. “But she pulled through just fine. Operation was flawless, prognosis was positive. She was back on her feet in just a couple of months.”

    “Not our doing, though,” I breathed. “Others saved her life. We did nothing. Worst than worthless.”

    “Is that how she saw it?” Olana’s expression was neutral, but I could see the growing concern in her eyes. “Jeanine, you said? She saw you as worthless?”

    Adam shook his head. “No, she thanked me for… just being there. Acted like loving her was some heroic act. As though holding her hand did anything.” He looked down contemptuously at his meaty paw, as though rebuking it for being unable to heal.

    “All true acts of heroism,” Ben intoned, “stem from compassion. From love. You should listen to your loved ones, when they tell you that.”

    “It’s an illusion that will break, someday,” Adam shot back. “She’ll realize she deserves someone for whom love is an instinct, rather than a performance. Who doesn’t have to decide what he wants to feel before he can feel it.” He sighed. “But until she does, she gets everything I have, every day. That’s what I promised.”

    “A promise I failed,” I stared into Adam’s cold eyes again. “Here I am, untold galaxies and years separating us. I said I would always be there, no matter what.”

    “No, you didn’t,” Chion stepped forward, glancing dismissively at the evaporating shapes in the mist. “He did. Adam from Earth made those commitments. Not Obi-wan from a different Galaxy.” The general rounded on me, taking both me and Adam in. “You say ‘we,’ pretend you’re remembering events that happened to you. They didn’t. That was a different lifetime, and all you are is a Seer who dreamed it.”

    “That doesn’t make it any less real,” I urged. “I made those promises, and I loved those people. That’s a part of who I am.”

    “Certainly you loved them,” Ben agreed, stepping up next to Chion, also between me and the mists. “And they loved you. But they are gone. If you don’t leave the past in the past, how can you dedicate yourself to the present? How can you save the future?” His gaze was distant, and I was momentarily drawn to how many people this old Jedi Master had cared for, in his own way, and outlived.

    “So I should just forget my promises,” I spat.

    “Not forget,” Adam disagreed. “But trust.” He stared into the mist again, as though he could still see the scenes. “Place your trust in me, the guy who actually made the promises. Who is still there, working to fulfill them.” He turned to look at me again. “Stop holding onto my life. It doesn’t belong to you.”

    I searched out his eyes, but as before, there was nothing there. “You’ll look after them? Keep them safe? Make her happy?” There was steel in my voice, although I didn’t know where it came from.

    “I will,” he said, and there was no levity or warmth as he extended his hand to me. “And you’ll leave them to me, commit yourself fully to those you choose to love in this life?”

    “I can do that,” I agreed, and as I clasped his hand, I felt the mist blow over us. In a short moment, my hand was clasped to itself as I faced empty air.

    “Yeah, okay, that fits the pattern,” Chion said as the four of us remaining - me, her, Olana, and Ben - looked about the misty clearing. “There’s a little more than an hour before sunrise, and two of us left."
     
  25. Diraniola

    Diraniola Not too sore, are you?

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    Did you take this chapter down and repost it? I swear I read it a couple days ago.
     
  26. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Yes. Some very personal stuff in here. I got a little overwrought and changed my mind.

    But it fits the story and I think it will make for a decent arc for the character. So it's back up.

    Sorry for the repost.
     
  27. R.A.G.

    R.A.G. Experienced.

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    This fits well with the Zen Buddhist elements of the Jedi, letting go of the past. Of course it's also the hardest part, which is why they push people to not make overdeep ties.
     
  28. Threadmarks: Ch. 48 - Unwelcome Introspection, pt. 3
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    [Previously: Confronting alternate versions of him and Olana on Ilum, Obi-wan agreed that Adam from Earth would deal with their Earth obligations, leaving Obi-wan to care for those he loves in his new life. Adam departed.]

    "These are our future selves," Olana said. "What do you think they're supposed to teach us?"

    "The logical answer," I mused, "is that just as our past selves were here to help me let go of outdated ideas of the past, these two could help us with outdated ideas of the future."

    "Or the opposite," Chion said. "What if the idea is to choose the future over the past? To embrace some element of us that you are in danger of losing?"

    Ben nodded. "Obi-wan defines himself in opposition to what he remembers of me. Doing the right thing, where he sees me as having made mistakes. Perhaps changing more than he should?"

    "I think," Olana said, "that since returning from Naboo and sharing his Visions with the Council, he's doing less of this than he used to. The Jedi Masters are working more closely with him and have a mitigating influence."

    Chion pinned the girl with her gaze. "The Obi-wan that I knew, would never have permitted me to open a Sith holocron, much less study it unsupervised."

    Olana stiffened, closing her posture in defense. "How can you be sure? The Obi-wan that you knew, abandoned you before you reached my age."

    The older woman smiled, but it wasn't a nice smile. "It certainly seemed that way when I was a youngling. My perspective is broader now." Her eyes hardened more, and she took a deep breath, steeling herself. "Quit your infatuation with him, Olana. It didn't help me, and I am certain it won't help you."

    I could feel trickles of escaped heat from my Padawan's mind as her eyes narrowed, teeth clenched. Retreating further into my own center, I allowed my own knee-jerk defensiveness to swirl around me without finding purchase. The Jedi general squared her shoulders, ready to endure the backlash from her statement.

    "Let her be." The words were clear but soft, spoken, not by me, but by the old man whose hand gently grasped Chion's shoulder. It was only when he continued that I realized he was talking to Chion, not us. "I did abandon you, Olana. So consumed was I with the death of my Master, with raising Anakin, that I gave attention to nothing else."

    Behind the two of them, Olana and I saw the mist retract to showcase several forms in the background. I recognized Siri, Padme, and Quinlan among others - people that I had once considered close friends, or more. In the foreground, the young Obi-wan followed behind Anakin as he stalked confidently, growing in seconds from small boy to arrogant young man.

    Looking on, more distinct than the other background faces, the misty image of young Olana let her face fall. She wept silently.

    "You were hurt," Ben continued, and Chion turned to see the tableau. "And it changed the heart of the Knight that you were to become."

    "For the better!" she insisted. "Certainly you can see that. It was a hard lesson, but in learning how attachment leads to pain, I overcame my weaknesses. I served the Republic when it needed me most, just as you did!"

    A fully grown Olana lept from the misty form of the girl, her drawn weapon dispersing the rest of the shapes as she moved to center stage. A busy scene erupted around her, battle droids firing into an entrenched position where a small contingent of soldiers in white armor fired back.

    General Chion reached down with one hand to a wounded soldier, his wounds closing rapidly even as she deflected small arms fire with her raised hand. Once the man was back on his feet, she signaled her artilleryman, who lobbed an incendiary in the direction of the droids.

    The momentary lull in fire was enough. The Jedi bowed her head, and every one of her eleven men laid a hand on her head or shoulders. A moment later they released as one, and twelve humans with glowing blue eyes charged into the mass of droids in a blur of perfectly timed attacks.

    "Battle meditation?" I watched in surprise. "Augmenting your entire unit with Force speed? This really happened?"

    "It was her speciality," Ben said, admiration clear in his voice. "Those men were personally loyal to her, and she could use them in battle like an extension of herself. She should have been named a Master."

    "It didn't matter. Doesn't, won't, whatever. The point was, we held our own. No flashy missions to disable a superweapon or rescue a princess. Just boots on the ground, guns out, hold the line, defend the position." She lifted her chin. "And we did it."

    "Yes, you did," Ben agreed.

    "Master?" my Olana addressed me quietly.. "You seem surprised by what you are seeing. Weren't these scenes part of your Visions?"

    "... no," I answered. "I'm quite certain they were not. Olana's role in the Clone Wars, her powers as a Knight, weren't part of my Visions."

    Olana's questions matched my own thoughts: "Then how are we seeing them? Is the Temple not drawing from our minds?"

    I looked with new suspicion at the mists, and the two Jedi in front of us. "I don't know."

    Chion's attention was on Ben. "When you condemn what you did, you devalue what I have become."

    "To the contrary," the old Master insisted. "I am proud of what you became. But I mourn what I lost, in not being a part of it." He turned to us, and the two of them regarded their younger counterparts coolly.

    "So you would condemn her - me - to this doomed attachment, in service of an unknown destiny."

    "She'll outgrow the infatuation in time," Ben started.

    Olana, her face red, interjected. "There is no infatuation! I just recognize how special Obi-wan is."

    "As you say," Ben conceded. "In time, you will learn to detach yourself from emotional connection, and instead understand the deep bond of friendship and service that characterizes the very best partnerships in the Order."

    "She will be loyal to him, rather than the Order," Chion insisted. "This is madness. A path to the Dark Side."

    "She will be true to herself," Ben countered. "A path to enlightenment, compassion, and strength in the Force."

    They looked at us expectantly. I turned to Olana, and she shrugged back.

    "What?" I finally asked the two, as they continued to look at us.

    "Which do you choose?" Chion asked.

    "How do you intend to go on?" Ben asked.

    "However we want," I said simply. "There is no reason to commit ourselves now, is there?" I directed this to my Padawan.

    "We don't owe you an answer," Olana said. "You each accomplished great deeds, in your time. But that world is gone now. We will not be you." She smiled at me, and extended a hand. I took it. "We'll figure this next part out ourselves. My Master and I."

    "Good answer," I told her, even as the mist overtook us again.

    When it cleared, we found ourselves alone. We packed up our gear, eager to escape the valley before sunrise.

    Master Selbek was waiting for us inside the temple door, a cup of warm tea awaiting each of us. "You've had a long night," he insisted, and took us to a sparsely-appointed room where downy blankets were spread over hastily-erected cots.

    "That experience created more questions than it answered," I said. "How did -"

    "Sleep first," Myren insisted, tucking us each in as though we were younglings. "Answers when you awaken."

    The room was pleasantly warm; I fell into a more restful sleep than I had in days.
     
  29. Simon Buchan

    Simon Buchan Making the rounds.

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    It was then that Obi-wan knew it was worse than he thought, he was in a fanfic, with an OC Don't Steal.

    But seriously, I really liked this whole sequence, it really delivered on both getting character insights and keeping a level head and ensuring that those insights are useful and well founded - I'm always a big fan of both!
     
  30. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Just a reminder that I've given permission to use anything in my fan fiction*. I'd love to be told it's happening, but just so I can see what others do with it.

    *I specify "fan fiction" because I also have novels set in an original setting, and those characters I would be more stingy with.
     
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