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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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    Ahsoka Tano is currently four years old. So, no.
     
  2. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    I should probably mention, it's a pretty deep dive into EU/Legends territory. And I have given literally no foreshadowing for it.

    So you should not at all feel like this is something you "should" be able to guess.
     
  3. Tbryan

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

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  4. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Good guess!

    Nope.
     
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  5. inky

    inky Know what you're doing yet?

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    Good writing and wonderful characterisation. The reason the protagonist forgets the Sith is solid. Very enjoyable overall.

    The oath at the end of the latest chapter is, I think, too specific when it mentions the Galactic Empire and Darth Vader. It's not like he will deal with that for the rest of his life.
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Ch. 19 - Invited to Learn
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Olana Chion was becoming quite pretty.

    It was something that was hard not to notice, particularly as someone who had known her since she was much younger. In just the past two years, she had gained nearly a foot in height, already foretelling the tall woman of regal bearing that she would become.

    As usual, I found her surrounded by much younger students. They were deep in meditation, and I was happy to see that in addition to Olana floating a foot above the ground, four of the six younglings were as well. Her empathy, and her patience, were both as strong as her healing.

    I had done what I could for Olana, but unfortunately, I had given her little hope for the future. Had Anakin been my Padawan, there seemed little chance that she would be chosen by another Knight. And with the uncertainty of the future, I had not been willing to include her in my plans.

    All of that could change, now.

    I sat down and joined the session, opening my mind to theirs. Olana sensed me immediately, and I was proud that she did not lose her focus despite the mixture of hope and fear that surged through her at my presence. I enveloped the seven minds around me - an easy measure for children this young, plus Olana as receptive as she was, and began sending out strong waves of calm, clear mental strength.

    The younglings’ minds spread out gradually under my influence, and I felt the other two rise a few inches from the ground joining their peers… although one of them was so surprised by it that he broke his concentration and fell back to the ground with a squeak. He sat and watched the rest of us patiently, and after a few more minutes, their teacher guided the end of the session.

    “Good, now, as you sense your friends and your surroundings, turn your mind inward and regard yourself. Draw your senses in toward yourself, recapturing your mind, collecting your will, cementing your own personal presence.” We each sank to the ground as we followed her instructions. “When you are entirely yourself again, you may open your eyes.”

    Olana patiently waited until each of the children's eyes opened, making contact with each of them and giving an encouraging smile. “You all did wonderfully! Poh’la, don't get discouraged! You levitated for a minute there, didn't you?” The boy who had dropped in surprise nodded excitedly. “Remember, this is an exercise you can do on your own, whenever you have time. Don't wait for one of us seniors to lead you in it - be your own teacher!”

    The younglings gave various words of thanks as they dispersed, eventually leaving just the two of us in the teaching chamber.

    “To what do I owe the honor?” Olana asked with a sardonic smile. Her fear and hope were warring, and… oh, she was shielding part of her mind from me! I was impressed and proud; I hadn't thought she’d advanced that far in her mind skills.

    “I'd be surprised if you hadn't already heard.” I returned my own smile, pointing at my own sloppy haircut.

    Olana nodded, and I felt her fear increase again before it… vanished. I pushed slightly against her, but sensed nothing. An effective shield indeed. “The rumors say you brought back the Chosen One on your last mission,” she pointed out. “You became a Knight so he can be your Padawan.” Despite her mental shield, I could see the concern on her face.

    “As usual, the rumors are just wrong enough to cause harm. In fact, I was made a Knight so that Anakin could become Qui-Gon's Padawan. Which still leaves open the question,” I let my smile broaden into a grin, “of who my Padawan would be.”

    I rose from the ground and she did likewise. I continued, “I have quite a few plans in place for the coming years, and I will most certainly still be involved in Anakin's education. Ideally my student should compliment him. Less focus on physical skills and prowess; more on mental. A skilled healer, empath, and linguist. Someone who’s studied diplomacy and pedagogy. A learner who has shown flexibility in her training, the ability to adapt to unorthodox techniques.” I turned to her fully. “I believe that narrows it down to just one candidate. So how abou -- oof!”

    The girl had jumped on me for a tight hug, and dropped her shield enough that I could sense her deep relief, the satisfaction of fufilled hope. “I've wanted this since I was six years old,” she murmured, as much to herself as to me, I thought.

    “You've worked very hard, Olana. And your reward… is the chance to work even harder.” I put her down carefully, mirroring her excited smile with my own. “Have you passed the Initiate Trials?”

    She nodded… then shook her head. “All but one. Building my own sword. I’m no good with circuitry.” She looked enviously at my own blade; although I kept it concealed along with my blaster and other specialized equipment when in the field, I wore it visibly when on Coruscant as was expected of a Jedi.

    I nodded. “Yes, but you have other exceptional talents. We'll tackle that test in a bit.” I led her out of the meditation room and towards my own quarters. “First, we have a much more pressing matter to go over. How’s your Binary?”

    I heard her take a deep breath, and felt her center herself. Then I heard: **Complete fluency acquired.** The squealing, clicking noises were coming from Olana! And they were, in fact, perfect Binary.

    “How did you do that?” Droid Binary uses a speed and variety of sounds not available to the human vocal cords. There was a human version, but it was extremely slow since it expanded the sounds into longer sequences.

    I felt her focus her will strongly again. **Sonic emissions amenable to Force manipulation.** Another deep breath. **0LNA acquired sufficient data/programming….**

    “That’s impressive,” I cut her off as she took another breath. “You learned how to channel your voice, not only to amplify the sound but to wholly alter it. How did you even go about developing the technique?”

    “I didn't have to; it was in the Archives,” Olana admitted as we resumed walking. “Not for learning Droidspeak - it was originally developed for musical performance. Force Harmony, a way for a single singer or flutist to perform multiple notes. But it adapted readily to this.”

    “I will admit, Olana, that my suggestion was just that you learn to understand Binary. I wasn't more specific, because I didn't believe the other was possible.”

    She allowed herself a momentary smirk. “In the future, Master, you should be more careful with your orders. If you ask for the impossible, I make no guarantees that you won't get it.”

    “I'll keep that in mind.”

    R2 was waiting patiently in my quarters. I had asked him more than once if he needed anything or wanted to explore on his own, but he insisted he was happy to bide until he was needed. This patience no doubt served astromechs well during long periods of inactivity.

    “Artoo, this is Olana, my student,” I began. I crossed my legs on the floor in front of him, and she did the same.

    The droid beeped a greeting, followed by **R2D2 astronavigation and repair unit.**

    The girl inhaled, and quickly beeped the counter greeting, with **0LNA biological Jedi initiate.**

    **Identity stored. Projecting data.** Leave it to R2 to take this entirely in stride.

    As the timeline graphics floated above us, I addressed my Padawan-to-be. “Seven years ago, I had a vision. It showed me details of the future, branching out decades. It showed me the fall of the Republic, and the rise of a Sith-run Galactic Empire, twenty years from that day.” My hand moved over the graphics, showing her dates and events; I noticed the detailed annotations and cross-references added by Padme and R2.

    Olana’s brow furrowed as she tried to take in what I was telling her. “This is what you have been working on all these years? Planning for the coming conflicts?”

    I nodded. “Right here and now, Artoo and I will introduce you to the future shown in my visions, and the ways that the actual future has already diverged from it. And then,” I caught and held her eyes, “you can choose with your eyes open. This path will be demanding, and we will likely be on it for most of our lives. But I do believe we can save the Republic, or at least thwart the will of the Sith.

    “Or,” I shrugged, “you can decline my offer and walk another path. I do not claim to speak for the Force; I do not know your destiny. And I will do everything I can to support you, either way - including finding you another Master.”

    Olana was not Anakin or Qui-Gon. She was prudent, willing to fully consider all options before committing. I valued that about her, greatly.

    With a simple nod, she turned her attention fully to the holo. “In that case, Master Kenobi, let us begin.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  7. prussian-granadier

    prussian-granadier Know what you're doing yet?

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    careful now she is very not legal, maybe in the time of the second movie, if you chose to move it to the NSFW section
     
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  8. Felius

    Felius Versed in the lewd.

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    Nonplussed means the opposite of what you appear to use it as.
     
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  9. MannOf97

    MannOf97 Know what you're doing yet?

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    There's a NSFW version of this story in the right section already.
     
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  10. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    As someone else mentioned, there's already a Ben/Shmi spin-off over there.

    Planning something very different for the Olana angle.
     
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  11. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    So no threesomes with your impressionable young padawan?
     
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  12. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Just like Padme, Olana is off-limits until we get closer to Episode II's timeframe.

    And, yes, that was a hint of what I'm thinking.
     
  13. Threadmarks: Ch. 20 - Dark Crystals
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    The Jedi Temple had many training areas; it wasn't hard to find a private corner when you wanted one. But training and teaching activities tended to occur in central, common spaces. Younglings and initiates were encouraged to observe even those exercises they were not suited or ready for.

    The four kyber crystals that had made up Darth Maul’s blade were arguably Master Fisto's by right, but he had no qualms with me taking them. And because I saw no need to conceal what I was doing, I chose a bench in one of the workshops where Jedi, both learners and more experienced knights, built and repaired their weapons. Today was my fourth session with the crystal in front of me, and Anakin's and Olana's second with their own assigned crystals. The fourth sat off to the side, it’s deep blood crimson hue a standard against which we could measure our progress.

    I allowed the crystal in front of me to swallow my attention, its resonant frequencies ringing my deeper senses. A dedicated act of will on my part resulted in the smallest, weakest possible trickle of energy through the gem. Almost immediately, the hunger began, as my power was corrupted, made Dark, and then the Darkness called more of my power into itself. I easily resisted the weak feelings, absorbing them into my own much stronger psyche, and continued the restrained flow of positive energy.

    This cycle continued. My own connection to the Force was becoming the basis for the crystal’s new pattern, even as I took in and flushed the Dark Side energy emerging from it. This was, in some ways, a much slower and safer version of what Master Windu did when practicing Vapaad. I was completing a circuit of Force flow that included a taint of the Dark, but the weak and inert Dark energy, absent a living source to reinforce it, was easy to subsume.

    “Nothing's happening.” Anakin's resentful whine showed a distinct impatience for the process that he hadn't shown the day before; it seemed the novelty of the exercise had worn off. His crystal was pulsing, and its ruddiness was noticeably fainter than before, but Anakin's frustration was also mounting.

    “Something is, in fact, happening,” I corrected. “It just takes time.” I was pleased to see that Olana's own cleansing process was proceeding just as well.

    “I can do it faster. Here, watch.”

    “No, Annie. The crystal’s only receptive to a small amount of Force energy at a time. You can't just-”

    Then it was too late; Anakin had already increased his focus on the crystal and poured his full measure of energy into it. The gem’s hum moved from barely sensed to plainly audible, the color from a dim pulse to a bright red. I barely had time to Force push both children backwards and slam my hand down on the work table's safety trigger when the crystal burst, red shards flying in all directions and bouncing violently off of the protective shield suddenly surrounding the bench.

    A group of younglings were working under the instruction of a Knight and a Corpsman nearby. They all turned in surprise at the shattering noises as well as the loud alarm that went off when I hit the safety key.

    “Oops. Sorry,” Anakin shrugged as he became the unwelcome center of attention. But Olana immediately put a warm hand around the boy's shoulders.

    “Are you hurt, Annie? No? Then everything's alright,” my apprentice insisted, looking with interest at the now inert fragments. I deactivated the forcefield and quickly collected them by levitation to float in my hand.

    “I'm sorry I broke it, Obie. I didn't know it would do that,” the nine-year-old insisted. I felt the fear in the back of his mind, although he tried his best to show no visible sign of it. Breaking something meant someone would be angry, and then he would be beaten. That was the way of things.

    “Calm down, Anakin,” I ordered. “The consequence of this mistake is that you have to try to learn from it, not some sort of punishment.”

    I spread the fragments out into a line; fifteen pieces altogether, most no wider than a finger. Each piece was the same dull red color as the kyber crystal had been.

    “Now, before you tried increasing the Force flow,” I asked as I studied the new fragments, “was there a good reason for you to think that it wouldn’t work?”

    Of the fifteen fragments, eight were large enough and had enough symmetry for what I intended. Sorting those from the other seven, I saw Olana and Anakin exchanging looks.

    Finally, Anakin answered. “No. I don’t know anything about the crystals, really, or how they take energy. I’ve never seen one before, and there was no way for me to know how fragile it is.”

    I nodded at his honest answer. “If you don’t know anything about the crystals, then how did you know what you did about how to cleanse them in the first place?”

    “You told me, and then you showed me how to do it.” The boy’s tone had a note of complaint now, implying that I should have warned him this could happen.

    I sighed quietly. “So you watched me do it. Am I capable of channeling more Force energy into the crystal than I did?”

    Anakin nodded, but it was Olana who spoke. “You’re saying that we should have assumed it wouldn’t work, or else you would have already been doing it that way?” She gave me her half-frown that she used whenever I said something unreasonable.

    I gave her my customary half-grin in response. “You dislike that answer?”

    “It assumes we can’t ever think of something you didn’t. That we should always assume whatever method people are already using is the best. I don’t think that’s true.” She met my eyes with a confidence reflected in the small part of her I could sense through her shields.

    “Yeah! People do dumb things all the time,” Anakin added. “You’re not dumb, but that doesn’t mean we oughta just do things your way.”

    “A fair point. So, where does that leave you?” I set the sorted crystals aside to focus fully on the discussion. “Ignore the customary ways of doing things, for the sake of innovation?”

    “Yeah,” Anakin said. “Sure, it’ll hurt sometimes, but it’s the best way to get better.”

    I nodded to him. “Okay. And you, Olana?”

    “What about... “ she bit her lip for a moment, and I silently encouraged her to continue. “What if we… learn the customary ways, and why people do them that way? The reason for the limitations? Then we can look for flaws or further solutions.”

    “That seems like a better process,” I nodded. “Anakin, what do you think?”

    “Yeah, that makes sense. Figure out why the rules are there, so you can judge if they’re good rules or not.” He looked at Olana in a simple show of admiration for her wisdom.

    "Very good," I praised. “This is an ancient principle, known as Cala Brin’s Wire. When you are working on a device, and come upon a wire that seems to have no function, you need to understand why it is there before you consider removing it. Maybe it was previously needed for a subcomponent that is no longer included in the device; maybe it’s been made redundant by an improved template. Or maybe it’s crucial to address a problem you didn’t consider.”

    I handed each of them one of the more irregular fragments, from the pile I couldn’t use. “Those pieces won’t explode any further; the worse they’ll do is shatter and crumble. So you can carry them around with you and practice on them.” They pocketed their homework. I continued, “I was intending break apart one of the crystals, anyway. I need several smaller crystals for one of my projects. No real harm done.”

    I felt the relief from Anakin… and some from Olana, as well. I was gratified by how quickly my student had taken to the younger boy. I shouldn’t have been surprised; she was excellent with her younger “siblings” at the Temple, and already had a reputation as a good teacher. I had been concerned that the training time I devoted to Anakin would make her feel cheated (my own guilt in this regard sometimes motivated me to spend more time on training than on my other projects).

    “Obi-wan?” the voice came from the nearby bench where several students, all younger than Anakin, had been taking apart practice sabers.

    “Yes, Sinnot?” I responded. The corpsman was a heavy-set man in his fifties, wearing the robes and insignia of the Jedi Educational Corps. An experienced teacher.

    “The students were wondering why those kyber crystals are red,” he gestured. “If you have time?”

    I looked to my own pupils, and they gave no objection. My beckoning wave brought a dozen smaller children in Jedi robes to surround our bench, looking in fascination at the red gems. I also gestured to one of the practice sabers, brought it to my hand, and quickly opened the casing to reveal the blue crystal inside, laying it along with the others for contrast.

    “You’ve all been taught about how living creatures react differently to the Force than inanimate objects, right?” Nods all around. “That’s because living creatures both send out Force energy and take it in, like insulators do for heat. You can lift a large boulder more easily than you can a human that weighs nowhere near as much, because the boulder doesn’t push back against your action the way living creatures reflexively do.”

    This got another set of nods; lifting large rocks was a common early training technique, as well as being used by teachers as a demonstration of the power of the Force.

    “Kyber crystals absorb and channel Force energy, similar to living things, but they don’t have a unique Force pattern of their own the way living things do. Because of this, an attuned crystal will resonate with the Force pattern of its wielder. From the point of view of the Force, the kyber crystal becomes an extension of the Jedi, rather than an object separate from the Jedi. And so does the energy the crystal focuses into a blade.”

    “But why the different colors?” a young girl asked, anxious for the punchline.

    “Because different people commune with the Force differently. Most Jedi see their lightsabers as weapons for protecting others or as symbols of their commitment to peace. When they attune their crystals with these attitudes, the result is green or blue. A pure commitment to duty - to following the rule of law, regardless of personal belief - creates a yellow blade, like those you see the Temple Guards use. And rarely, a Force user can get a white or silver crystal by attuning it to the ideal of the Force, with no emotion or goal at all.”

    “What’s red, then?” another youngling asked, and several echoed similar questions.

    “Hatred,” I said simply, and felt the cold aches of fear in the minds around me. “Red kyber crystals are attuned to the Dark Side of the Force, channeled by a user that is tapping into their rage and hatred to embed and focus these emotions. Like other Dark abilities, red crystals are more powerful than others, yielding a stronger and hotter blade. But they are also more volatile, and their exceptional strength requires an ongoing connection to the Dark Side.”

    “Who made these crystals, then?” came the next question.

    “A Sith lord,” I answered, and heard the murmurs from the surprised students.

    “I believe… that will be enough for today. Thank you, Obi-wan,” Sinnot said suddenly. I looked at him, surprised at the abrupt adjournment, and saw surprise and fear in his own face. Surely the news would have travelled to the rest of the Order by now?

    I made a note to seek out Sinnot, alone, in the near future and get a sense of what the lower ranks of the Order and the Corps were being told. If the answer was, not very much, then I needed to figure out why. After all, the Sith had returned, and the fate of the galaxy would be decided in just a few years. Now was not the time to leave people in the dark.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  14. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Anakin is starting to learn patience from this, it seems. That's a very good thing.
     
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  15. gaouw

    gaouw Banishumen, Zis Warudo!!!

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    Yanno,,, I kinda expected that the point raised by the no longer canon old ch 8 will be discussed in a more, shall we say, volatile manner between Obi and the Council.

    Especially due to the Sinot blurb in the end there.

    I just got that feeling somehow.
     
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  16. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Which point do you mean? There's a lot of moving parts right now; I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something.
     
  17. gaouw

    gaouw Banishumen, Zis Warudo!!!

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    The one in which Obi says that for an Order preaching the no attachment dogma, they sure are pretty attached to the Order itself, even though the Order need to be reformed or even reforged for the betterment of the Jedi as a whole.

    This is shown in the fact that the lower level had no Idea what is happening in the grand scheme of things due to the higher-ups wanting stability that goes all the way to obsolescence rather than dynamic pruning and drastic actions where it is needed.

    After all is said and done, despite the suffering caused by the Galactic Empire, nobody can say that they're not decisive in their policy. In contrast to the Order that simply want to hold on to status quo, even though it's just a futile dream like a dewdrop in the Saharan morning.
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Ch. 21 - I was a Teenage Jedi
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    It was unsurprising that the Jedi Temple concerned itself with atmosphere and aesthetic, considering that it was host to a community whose abilities were largely driven by their state of mind. The older stonework, as well as the steel and crystal of the newer buildings, each brought to mind different attitudes. Calm, wonder, fascination, focus.

    For ‘oppressive,’ though, you couldn’t beat some of the maintenance areas lower down. There were private spaces down here - both offices and workshops. Among the windowless rooms many of which were poorly lit by flickering sources, it wasn’t hard to find an unused room with a lock for work you didn’t want others to know about.

    Olana followed me in with trepidation, moreso when she saw a cluttered workbench with its array of small electronic parts. The green kyber crystal in the middle confirmed her concern (likely fear, but it was shielded from me if so).

    “I’m still working on attuning the red crystal,” she pointed out in confusion. “This one isn’t mine.”

    “Today is a lesson, Olana. The other training we have been working on will allow you to pass your test. This is to teach you something else entirely.”

    I made sure that my student had met my eyes before continuing. “This will be terribly unpleasant, and I’m not going to explain what is happening until the end. Please know that I believe your experience here will be worth the ordeal. Do you trust me?”

    “Yes, Master,” Olana said with zero reserve or hesitation. I found it to be extremely disconcerting, this absolute faith she had in me. Breaking it without hurting her would be its own very difficult project.

    “Hold still while I put the device on.” It was a thick metal cylinder three finger-widths in diameter. I placed it against her neck just below the ear, and heard her sharp intake of breath as a small needle punctured the skin there. The device, I knew, would find her carotid artery. “Now, let’s work.”

    We discussed the pile of parts before agreeing to sort out components of the different systems. I kept my senses open to hers, noting when she seemed to be experiencing larger spikes of different emotion - enough to get past her shields.

    “Hand me the, um, the switch,” Olana said at one point. Her frustration with the project had been building as we made little real progress.

    “Which switch? This one?”

    “No! That switch! Never mind!” she snarled, grabbing for it.

    “Okay, fine,” I muttered, and watched as she glared at me, then return to her work.

    It was only a few minutes later she snapped at me as I was following her instructions on adding a relay to a splitter. “No, not like that. I said the other end,” she corrected.

    “That is the other end,” I insisted.

    “The other other end!” She took the components I was working on and tried to put the piece on herself, but it wouldn’t fit. She dropped them on the table in disgust, letting them clatter against other pieces she had already sorted. “How much longer do I have to do this?”

    “How do you feel?” I asked. Her shield had weakened and weakened as time went on, and her mounting frustration and anger were clear.

    She looked up at me suddenly in response to that, her eyes narrowing. “Oh, so that’s what this is about. Your device makes me angry, to teach me some sort of lesson, I suppose.” She crossed her arms across her chest. “It’s clearly working. Can I be done?”

    Looking her over, I nodded. A single button press on the device retracted the needle and sprayed a tiny amount of adhesive to cover the small hole. I placed the cylinder on the table, continuing to watch my learner-to-be.

    Her glare weakened as her mood changed, and a flush crept up her body even as she began to restore her mental defenses. There must have been a psychosomatic component, because even though some of the chemicals’ effects should have persisted for considerably longer, she felt as though she was back to her own self after just a few minutes.

    “I… I don’t know… I’m sorry, Master,” said Olana. She seemed close to tears. “I was so disrespectful. Was that… was that what the Dark Side is like?”

    “Worse,” I quipped. “That’s what puberty is like.”

    She looked at me in horror as I explained. “You’re a teenager, and I know you’ve received a full education in the biological implications of that. What is often not discussed, as much as it should be particularly for Jedi, is the strongly linked emotional implications.”

    “What did that device do, then, exactly?” she asked.

    “It randomly injected neurotransmitters themselves, and their inhibitors, into the artery travelling to your brain. The same ones that fluctuate wildly when your brain starts producing hormones to send to other parts of your body to stimulate growth. Serotonin and norepinephrine being two big ones for emotional stability. “

    I pulled out a small case and started packing up the electrical components; Olana quickly joined in to help me.

    The inner-turned thoughts were clear on Olana’s face as we worked. Finally she asked, “So, the purpose of today was to forewarn me, so that I can control my emotions when the time comes.”

    “I don’t expect you’ll be able to control your emotions when the time comes,” I replied. “You’re essentially under the influence of extremely potent mind-altering substances. Rather than presume you can overcome them, you should just work not to do any permanent damage.” I looked over the green crystal before adding it to the case. “I’ve looked at the records, and apparently we lose a significant fraction of Padawans to disagreements with their Masters in the first five years, which for most will be between ages thirteen and eighteen. And in very few of those cases are the reasons for the breaks actually recorded.”

    “You think it’s just teenagers arguing with adults?” She pressed the release on the door as we left the room.

    “I do. I think that, among humans and other races that mature similarly, it’s entirely normal to have quite dramatic and completely irrational disagreements between teenagers and authority figures.” The relay at the end of the hall called the lift to take us back to the upper levels.

    “What was the point, then?” she asked, and I noticed a slight note of irritation creep into her voice.

    “Just for you to know that this issue exists,” I met her eyes again. “And when we have a ridiculous argument, and you decide a day or a week or a month later that it was ridiculous and you wish it had never happened…. Remember we had this conversation. Come talk to me about it, and we’ll work it out.”

    Her look was thoughtful as we exited the lift. I couldn’t help but smile when I heard her say to herself, under her breath, “I can’t wait to hear what happens when he does this with Anakin.”
     
  19. MrHam31

    MrHam31 Getting sticky.

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    The most subtle but profound way to help the Jedi Order :D
     
  20. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Huh. Maybe the Jedi were aware of this, and that's why they tolerated Anakin's canon behavior circa AotC.
     
  21. lurkymclurkerton

    lurkymclurkerton Slaanesh-chan's favorite chair

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    Truly the dark side is the lesser evil.
     
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  22. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    I'll probably be tackling the Kamino narrative this coming week. The Quest thread is still up in case anyone has any ideas / input, or you can chime in here or just PM me.

    I am likely laser focused on just a few items; soliciting thoughts is an attempt to get a broader prospective on something I expect to shape the rest of the story.
     
  23. Threadmarks: Ch. 22 - Partha Nellis, Part I
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    While I was holding off resumption of some of my Coruscant activities until after the Kamino visit - most notably my work as a bouncer at an under-level tavern - some important business matters had to be dealt with beforehand. The most important of these were my ongoing work with BlasTech R&D (laying the groundwork for the E11 design that would eventually become a staple of the Clone Army), and my acquisition of a significant interest in Kamino Armorsmiths Ltd. I might be the only person in the Galaxy who knew how successful they would be over the next 25 years as their infantry armor, manufactured to exacting specifications and built from a uniquely efficient Mandalorian template, became the iconic ‘face’ of the Galactic Republic (and, unless something changed, the Empire).

    I had agreed to the Kaminoan armor-makers’ most recent set of changes to the contract, and was just beginning on a response to a BlasTech accountant justifying the size of testing facilities, when my door hissed open. This was not unusual in itself. The small Temple quarters had locked but no chimes, and the custom was touch the door relay: if it was locked, you went away and tried later; if it opened, the person was available.

    “Master Kenobi,” the girl bowed. She looked to be in her early teens, dressed as a youngling initiate not yet a Padawan. Her light violet skin and bluish hair marked her as a Zeltron. The mode of address was technically proper from a Padawan to a Knight, if a bit overwrought.

    As I turned my attention to her, the girl entered the room with easy grace, a smile on her face. At the same time, I felt a pressure on my mind as her will pushed against me. I received it, and felt waves of feelings wash over me… trust, acceptance, contentment. Zeltrons were known to weakly influence the emotions of those around them with their own, but this was considerably stronger than that. I was a genuine telepathic push.

    “Hello there,” I smiled as I pulled myself away from my emotions. I left my feelings present in my mind, affected by her push and sending her the echoes she expected, but I made sure my will was entirely separated from them. “You have me at a disadvantage, I’m afraid.”

    “Partha Nellis,” she announced, bowing again. “You haven't followed the tournaments? I placed the last two years.” Another push, this time for me to be impressed and interested. Admittedly it was impressive, since winning over multiple years meant she had won lightsaber duels against children a year or more older than her.

    “Really? I’m afraid I’ve not kept track of the initiate contests and trials, sorry.” I kept my smile wide. “Is there something I can help you with?”

    “Master Kenobi, I think there’s something I can help you with.” Curiosity, importance. She held out a data stick, which I took and inserted in my console. “Olana Chion says you’re considering her as your Padawan learner. I… didn’t want you to make a hasty decision.” Caution, fear, regret.

    The data presented by the sticks were rankings and scores going back three years. I recognized only about a third of the names. “You wanted to make sure I was aware of her mediocre test scores.”

    “Yes, as well as what I believe to be the reason for them.” Partha looked genuinely concerned and conflicted, like she only reluctantly decided to share this, even while pushing pity and disappointment toward Olana. “She is very bright when she has time to work in her own pace, but she has no confidence under pressure. That’s why these evaluations come out so poorly for her. She’s been trying for years, and we keep rooting for her,” pity for Olana, admiration for Partha, “but she falls to pieces every time.”

    “You don’t think I should take her as my Padawan?” I asked simply.

    Partha feigned greater concern. “You know as well as I do, Master,” admiration for Partha, pride in Partha, “that Jedi are assigned dangerous missions with no room for hesitation.” Fear, panic. “You need an apprentice you can rely on.”

    “One like you?” I filled in, and she pushed rectitude, satisfaction in response.

    “I'm just becoming eligible, yes.” Pleasure, admiration. “Or any one of several initiates that show quickness on their feet.” Disinterest.

    I nodded, my face displaying serious concern, and copied the files to my console before handing back the data stick. ”You have given me much to consider. If you… are interested in being my Padawan?”

    Partha pushed satisfaction and admiration as she smiled brightly. “Yes, Master Kenobi, certainly!”

    I gestured a dismissal. “Then I'll look into this, and we will speak again.”

    “Thank you, Master.” One last burst of emotional warmth between us, and she left.

    This was interesting information, but not in the way that Partha intended. Olana and I had discussed her test scores already. She had initially claimed the same shortcoming that I had just heard from Partha: choking under stress, essentially. But after helping her with some emotional control exercises, I had given her similar tests and found her scores greatly improved.

    At the time, I had believed that Olana had shown remarkable progress… but in light of Partha’s quite adroit use of offensive telepathy, I suddenly found myself with a different hypothesis. I wanted another perspective.

    Anakin, as it happened, was in the dining hall, finishing up a late lunch with three other children his age. I stayed back and observed, delighted to see how well he fit in, conversing pleasantly on some topic or another, laughing and joking along with the rest. I only flagged the boy down as they rose from the table to return their plates to the adjoining kitchen.

    “Hi Obi!” He said, and waved enthusiastically as his friends headed off to wherever they were expected next. I know Anakin disliked being in limbo, not having grown up training in the Temple with the others, but not yet a Padawan and able to attach himself fully to Qui-Gon and me. My instinct was the same as his, to get him through the initiate trials as quickly as possible, but my former Master disagreed. Qui-Gon believed that one of the main skills Anakin needed to learn was patience, and so insisted he become involved in certain training exercises.

    “Hi, Anakin. I ran into a youngling today named Partha.” The boy responded by screwing up his face and sending a spike of annoyance. “I take it you know her?”

    The boy shrugged. “I’ve seen her around Olana. Partha seems nice enough at all, but she’s really dumb.”

    That was certainly not the impression I had gotten. “In what way?”

    “Well, she’s always saying things to Olana about her training and skills, to, like, cheer her up, I guess. Only they don’t.” His feelings of frustration grew, tinged with a small amount of anger. “Instead they remind Olana of something she’s not good at, and they make things worse. And then, whatever it is they’re training, Olana can’t do it right.”

    “This is only when Partha is present?” I asked to confirm my suspicions.

    Anakin nodded. “That’s why I say Partha is dumb, because when she’s not even around, Olana does fine. It’s almost like it’s more Partha’s problem than Olana’s.”

    That was enough for me to discuss it with my learner-to-be. And when I returned to my room, a coded message was awaiting me that provided an excuse for us to spend the time together.

    I could sense Olana’s hesitation as she boarded the converted space tug. The craft was Corellian make: small, squat and metallic, almost a cube if not for manifolds protruding at right angles from the surface. Converting it for hyperspace had cost more than the ship itself, and it was still cheaper than any used transport of similar size.

    In contrast to Olana, Anakin was thrilled to board the Somebody Else's Problem. He no doubt empathized with the junkyard origin of it, and in any event was always happy to have a chance to fly.

    Olana and I sat back and watched as the nine-year-old maneuvered the ship out of the hangar with occasional assistance from R2. The Astromech had accompanied me on these trips before and could have piloted to the station on his own, but I was happy to give Annie the flight time.

    “We'll be in hyperspace about two hours,” I commented to Olana as Anakin made another hyperspace sensor sweep to confirm that hyper-lane was clear. “Let’s get a session in. Anakin, join us in a half hour.”

    “Yessir,” was the boy’s acknowledgement as Olana and I left the cockpit for the small supercargo chamber.

    “I know we talked about your test scores,” I began, and was happy that her face didn’t indicate any discomfort. “How you’d panic during real evaluations and do worse than you would otherwise.”

    “Our lessons have helped quite a bit, I think,” Olana offered with optimism.

    “You've made real improvement,” I agreed, and enjoyed sensing a trickle of elation from her at the statement. “But other factors have come to my attention. Tell me, what do you think of Partha Nillis?”

    Olana’s eyebrows drew together in confusion. “She’s a year younger. A Zeltron. Everybody likes her.”

    “Do you like her?” I kept my tone flat.

    “Of course. She’s one of my Jedi sisters, I love them all.” The words were sincere, and yet, if I could look deeper into her mind, I was certain the emotions behind them were hollow.

    “I didn’t ask if you loved her, Olana,” I chided. “I asked if you liked her. There were Jedi from my own time as a youngling that I didn’t get along with. It’s a mistake to believe that everyone is a friend just because you are both training together, or both within the Order.”

    She nodded, and I heard a whispered sigh escape her lips slowly. “It’s… hard. She’s so nice to me, always so worried about my performance, and yet…” Olana shook her head. “When she brings it up, it seems to make it worse. Everything she says just reminds me of my anxieties, my near-failures. So I… wouldn’t go out of my way to talk to her.” She looked up at me, her expression cold. “Which doesn’t mean I hate her or anything. She tries her best with everyone; it’s not her fault.”

    “How do you know?”

    “Huh?” The girl’s confusion deepened; I started to sense more of her distress leaking through her shield. “How do I know… what?”

    “How do you know that it’s unintentional? The way she makes you feel?”

    Olana blinked, looking away from me as she thought. “I guess, I… always… assumed? She’s a youngling, like me. We train together. We’ve taken all of our tests together; why would she want me to feel bad about myself?” She shook her head, but I could tell the idea was still with her.

    “Consider this further, please,” I instructed in the slightly more forceful voice I reserved when acting as an instructor. “I’m not trying to force you to come to any conclusion, Olana. Just think about it.”

    This got me a small nod. “Yes, Master,” she said, but her voice was far away as though coming from a distance.

    “I’ve decided to go to Kamino without you,” I announced. “I expect you to have finished purifying and attuning the kyber crystal by the time I return, so that I can watch you build it into a blade.”

    That got me a nod, but no verbal response. I could tell that Olana was unhappy about this turn of events, but she kept her attitude to herself.

    “Now,” I sat up, adopting a lotus pose on the floor. “Let’s work on our mental defenses. I’ll push at your mind, and you endeavor to maintain your emotional center. Ready?”

    We worked for ninety minutes, the last seventy of which included Anakin, too. Their techniques were each improving, but neither of them were yet particularly resistant to the effects of an emotional compulsion or push.

    I wasn’t too concerned. We had many years of training ahead of us.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  24. Threadmarks: Ch. 23 - The Yam'rii Contract
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “Nicely done. Very smooth,” I praised Anakin as he eased the ship along one of the long, spindly surfaces that made up the station’s docking ring.

    These small, nameless outposts were still common in unclaimed Core systems, although increasingly absent from the Rim where the threat of piracy loomed larger than profit. Orbiting a gas giant from which it could draw for its modest power needs, the station sported a permanent population of under 400 biologicals and over 1,000 droids to see to the needs of itinerant traders and travelers along the hyper-lane.

    Since Jedi robes were about the only clothing choice that would attract notice in a place like this, Olana, Anakin, and I wore nondescript spacer clothing, blasters holstered under black leather jackets. I had packed light - no special weapons other than my lightsaber and a couple of stun grenades. This visit shouldn’t escalate to violence, just as past visits had not.

    We encountered only maintenance droids on our way from the docking ring to the central station, but once there we sidestepped a group of five quite drunk-looking men and entered the compartment they had just left. The tavern was well-attended, but I didn’t receive any attention following a first appraising look, even with the two children following me. The bartender raised a dirty rag and greeting and nodded to one of the smaller private rooms in the back.

    Jango Fett always came in civilian clothing and never armor when we met here, which I understood to be a sign of respect from the Mandalorian. He sat patiently, nursing a noxious-colored drink, and scrolled down a large wrist-mounted screen strapped to one arm. He didn’t look up immediately when I entered but just nodded to the seat opposite him at the table. I took it; Anakin and Olana stood behind me at either shoulder.

    “Jango, these are Olana and Anakin, Jedi apprentices,” I started, although this was not technically correct. They were still initiates until they passed all the Trials and were formally accepted as Padawans.

    That got Jango to turn off his screen. “You’ve never brought anyone with you before. Secrecy was part of the arrangement.” His speech was calm and precise, and is eyes wary. This was a man who wouldn’t underestimate anyone, even a pair of children.

    “I meant no disrespect,” I said, a nod suggestive of a bow. “They are to learn from me, and I consider my business arrangements an important part of that. Shall I send them back to my ship?”

    He gave a small smile, and his arms relaxed a bit as he seemed to loosen his carriage. “No, that won’t be necessary. Hello, you two. Are you enjoying learning from Kenobi, here? He’s a most… unusual Jedi.”

    “It’s all right,” Anakin answered with no hesitation. “He let me fly us here.”

    That got a wider smile from the bounty hunter. “I bet that was fun!” He turned back to me, the grin still present. “Speaking of fun, another target was dispatched this week. I don’t understand why they wait so long between sending them, but they are getting harder to kill. More security.”

    “Are you increasing your price, then?”

    Jango shook his head. “No, the negotiated price is fine. But that’s thirty-four targets altogether, and your retainer is used up. I need another.”

    I nodded, reaching into my jacket to pull out a chit that disappeared into the other man’s clothing just as quickly. “I am continually impressed by your work,” I shared. “Incidentally, you can consider that other matter closed.”

    “Yes, I heard you managed to kill the Zabrak yourself. Very impressive.” His voice was smooth and genuine, not even a hint of distress or mockery.

    “It wasn’t me, actually. Two Jedi Masters took out Darth Maul. Any part of that retainer you haven’t already put towards expenses, add to the Yam’rii project.”

    “Will do. One more matter.” He leaned back, taking a long pull from his tankard. “I’ve been hired for another long-term project. I don’t believe it will stop me from continuing our arrangement, but if that changes, I may need to terminate on short notice.”

    “The Kaminoans got hold of you, good.”

    His eyes widened at this, and then narrowed in suspicion. “How did you know about that?”

    “The project is being coordinated by the Jedi.”

    “I hadn't been made aware of that,” he rubbed his chin in thought. After looking me over for a minute, he shrugged. “Eh, the money’s good enough to even put up with the Order.”

    “I’m also buying a stake in the armor company that you’ll be working with. So, I will most likely see you there.”

    Jango nodded. “Looking forward to it. You, at least, are easy to work for.” He rose with us and shook my hand. After a moment’s hesitation, he shook Olana’s and Anakin’s as well. The two had been thankfully quiet throughout the brief interaction, but I think this was more due to surprise and bewilderment than discipline.

    This quiet lasted only until our departure from the station. By the time Anakin had engaged the hyperdrive, both of my students were hungry for answers.

    “Was that a Mandalorian?” Anakin blurted excitedly. “I thought they were all killed in the war.”

    “How did you know that?” I asked. I hadn't thought his appearance was distinctive without his armor.

    “He had the symbol on his wristband,” the boy observed. “So they didn’t all die?”

    “Jango is the only one left, at least for now,” I said. “I suspect Mandalore will produce more like him, given time.”

    “So, what was that about targets?” Olana wondered. “Thirty-four so far, he said.”

    “The Yam’rii send a delegation to Coruscant every few months to plead with the Republic to defend them against the aggressions of the Kaleesh. They also occasionally send delegations to other worlds in the area.” Meeting Olana’s eyes, I added, “Jango kills the delegates before they can be heard. Depending on how good his intelligence is, sometimes the ship doesn’t even make it out of their home system.”

    Olana’s distress was evident on her face. “Why?”

    “Because the Yam'rii spent two hundred years conquering every nearby world, enslaving over a hundred million members of other species. The Kaleesh were one of their victims.”

    “So the Kaleesh are the good guys,” Anakin nodded.

    “I… doubt it’s that simple,” Olana expressed. She was clearly unhappy with this. “Just because the Kaleesh were wronged, doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want in retaliation. Don't the Yam’rii deserve a chance to be heard?”

    I shook my head. “In my visions, the Yam'rii used their wealth and influence - which, remember, they gained through the violent conquest of whole other civilizations - to paint the Kaleesh as the aggressors. The Republic sent Jedi to beat them back to Kalee, and then imposed economic sanctions that saw most of them starve. At the same time, the Yam’rii expanded their trading network, specializing in selective breeding of their slave species. And,” I scowled, “guess what the Kaleesh and the Torvaldians were bred for.”

    “Obedience,” Olana guessed.

    “Endurance,” Anakin tried.

    I paused a moment to make sure the story was sinking in. “Flavor.”

    Olana got it first, and let out a small squeak as she covered her mouth.

    “Yam'rii are carnivores, and they particularly love consuming the eggs and young of other intelligent species.” My voice was cold now, as I could tell my audience was properly cowed. “They have little trouble expanding their population quickly to displace another species on an invaded world, since the existing population is a ready food source.”

    “Please tell me this is just a story,” I heard Olana mutter.

    “For us, living in the Core, yes. These are just stories.” I opened my arms as I saw Annie approach my seat, and let him climb up. “For planets in Wild Space and beyond, this is reality.”

    “Are we gonna get to fight the Yam'rii, Obi?” Anakin asked, his forehead burrowing into my chest.

    “We shouldn't have to,” I explained. “As long as we don't interfere, or let the Republic intervene, the Kaleesh’s greatest warlord will keep them at bay. He has already freed their hold on the region, destroyed their empire, and driven them back to their homeworld.”

    “A hero?” Anakin perked up.

    “Yes, indeed. A hero.” I looked at Olana, who listened intently, although her gaze was out the starship window. “Let's rest on the way home, and I'll tell you the story of the man known as Grievous.”
     
  25. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz Angry Lesbian Dragon

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    It's not a story the Sith would tell you.
     
  26. Ashaeron

    Ashaeron Getting sticky.

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    I mean, it's not a story most Jedi would tell you either. Assassinating delegates to a democratic body specifically so that they can't be heard is a hallmark of facism. Without all the additional context, this can very easily become a skewed truth.
     
  27. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    If you knew what we know, do you think you would do what Ben is doing?
     
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  28. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz Angry Lesbian Dragon

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    No.
    But that's just because of the kind o lass I am.
    The Past is dead and the Future does not exist...
     
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  29. seeing_octarine

    seeing_octarine Unverified Colour

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    Only as a stopgap. Sounds like the real problem is the decision making processes used by the Senate and/or the Jedi Order. Gotta fix those at some point.
     
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  30. lurkymclurkerton

    lurkymclurkerton Slaanesh-chan's favorite chair

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    Absolutely. Might go more the heavy economic investment in Kalesh route of I've always wanted to own the galaxy, but assassination works great too.
     
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