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Read The Jedi Gambit! by Greg "Rackham" Moran aka Kylun

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 10
 11 
 on: April 26, 2016, 01:11:07 AM EDT 
Started by Balan - Last post by Balan
Finall! After over 4 1/2 years it's finished, haha. On the Streets, in the Shadows has been completed. I will be making some edits to it, however. Stay tuned for Homecoming, which will be appearing in the chronicles section, for the next installment. Thank you to anyone who reads my stories on here, hopefully it's not just a bunch of bots. :)

 12 
 on: April 26, 2016, 01:05:41 AM EDT 
Started by Balan - Last post by Balan
        During the trip to Tython, Balan wondered and mulled over what he had seen and heard in Vasira’s thoughts. He didn’t know what to think of her anymore. He didn’t want to be too hard on her, but he didn’t know if he wanted to be friends with her anymore.

        He passed much of the time playing a variety of holo-games on Grennick’s older holo-con, mostly sports games. He needed something to ease and distract his mind from the past week. Grennick didn’t mind the relative quiet, as the two stuck to their own activities most of the time.

        After arriving in the Tython system, they approached the planet at sublight speed. They were almost immediately contacted by the defense fleet ordered to protect the planet from possible Sith attack.The officer that contacted them ordered them to keep a distance of at least 50,000 kilometers from the planet, until their registration was confirmed.

        Staring at the massive republic fleet looming before, Grennick really hoped the new registration would pass. After almost an hour he blew out a sigh of relief, as they were granted permission to land. He chided himself silently for worrying. His re-registrations had always worked before.

        Balan didn’t understand why he seemed so nervous, but ignored it. He was enthralled by the idea of seeing the new Jedi temple in construction, of meeting more people like him who could use the force.

        Grennick had told him on their trip here, that Tython was where the Jedi had relocated to. He had seen the aftermath of the sacking of Coruscant on the news, but he didn’t know that the Jedi had relocated off of Coruscant.

        They had to land at mass landing site some distance from the temple, and then take a automated speeder to the construction site. Unlike when he was on Nar Shadaa he had a chance to take in the sights, sounds, and smells. The peaceful surroundings did much to calm his troubled young mind. The abundant foliage, numerous forms of wildlife, and the wind blowing through his outstretched fingers delighted him.

        Upon arriving at speeder landing about a quarter of a kilometer from the construction zone. Despite the temple being incomplete its sheer size dumb-founded him. Its mushroom shaped frame dominated the view in one direction. The valley containing the temple seemed just as peaceful as the countryside they had just traveled through, safe for the loud construction work going on.

        Workers of various species filled the grounds surrounding the building, carrying out various tasks. Numerous droids using repulsors built into their bodies carried durasteel girders high into the air to add onto the bare frame.

        Waiting to meet them were two males in Jedi robes. One with green skin, large black eyes, and a number of tentacles which extended off the back of his head. Balan recognized him as a  Nautolan. The second was tall and slender with light blue skin. He had white hair, but it didn’t quite look like hair to Balan.

        “I am Jedi Oric Traless, I was informed that you have two lightsabers you intend to return to the Jedi Order.”

        Balan paid little attention to the ensuing conversation. He kept wondering what kind of alien the tall, blue Jedi was. He couldn’t remember ever seeing one before. Grennick replied, “I do, indeed. The first belonged to Jedi Knight Yessil Qur. I recovered it from a Twi’lek slave on Ryloth. The slave had taken care of him best he could, as he was dying. The second belonged to an unknown Jedi, who was apparently killed by a Sith Lord named Mrastaos.”

        The Jedi asked “how did you come into possession of this second lightsaber?”

        Grennick motioned to Balan, “he slew Mrastaos.”

        Balan felt a surge of pride, which he then felt ashamed for. He didn't want to be prideful over killing someone. He looked from Grennick to the two Jedi, and simply nodded unemotionally. He wondered what the hair-like covering on the blue alien’s head was.

        “They’re feathers,” the blue alien answered his silent wonderings.

        Balan’s eyes grew wide, as he realized the blue alien was watching him.

        “And I am an Omwati.”

        Balan then wondered if the Jedi had been reading his mind, or if he was just incredibly intuitive.

        Grennick ignored the exchange and continued the conversation. “I’m seeking payment for the return of these two sabers.”

        “Ah, yes.” The Nautolan Jedi seemed slinky disappointed, but not at all surprised.

        Negotiation ensued, and the two settled on a reward of 7,000 Republic credits. As they were about to agree on the price, the Omwati Jedi interjected.”This young man deserves a reward does he not?” he asked no one in particular.

        Grennick and Traless both gave him a quizzical look. The Omwati turned to Balan, “how would you like to stay here for a while? Learn more about the force.”

        Balan gave him a questioning look. He hesitated to answer, surprised by the offer. He would love the opportunity, but he didn’t feel ready. He wanted to go home, he felt that he needed to go back to Corellia. “I’m honored, but I must decline.”

        “But we have so much to offer you here. Why-“

        “Jei,” Traless interrupted.

        The Omwati stopped at hearing his name. He thought for a moment and then continued. “ Well, perhaps, you would like to keep one of the crystals from the lightsabers? A momento.”

        Balan thought about that for a bit. He realized that he didn’t want a momento of killing someone. He did really like the idea of having a silver bladed lightsaber, though. “I would like to have the Durindfire gem, in the first lightsaber.” He suddenly grew shy, worried he had asked for too much, or that Grennick would be made upset by the request. He looked up at Grennick to see his reaction. Grennick didn’t give away anything with his expression.

        Jei didn’t miss a beat, “agreed. I’ll take the saber and remove the crystal myself.” He approached Grennick with an extended open hand.

        “Fine by me, as long as I still get my 7000 credits,” Grennick said non-chalantly. He then took the two sabers out from under his jacket. He handed them to the Omwati without any reservation, after all he did trust the Jedi to hold up their end of a deal. Jei took the sabers and scurried off to the completed lower level of the temple.

        Traless assured the pilot, “I’ll transfer your money immediately.” He nodded to Grennick, turned away and walked back towards the temple, as well.

       For the next couple hours Grennick tended to maintenance on the exterior of his ship, while  Balan took in more of the area.

        The two Jedi then returned and Jei gave Balan the crystal. “I wish you well in your travels, young one. I do hope you comeback here someday.”

        “Thank you. I hope to come here again, as well,” Balan said sincerely. He knew he could learn much from the Jedi and from exploring Tython.

         Traless and Jei stood together and watched as Grennick and Balan boarded the freighter, and it took off.

        As the ship gained altitude and its loud engines no longer drowned out other noises, Jei leaned over to Traless and spoke in hushed tones. “We shouldn’t have let the boy go.”

        Traless replied sternly, “it’s not up to us.”

        As Balan returned home to Corellia he decided to look for a new job, one that wouldn’t get him chased by Corsec.

 13 
 on: April 26, 2016, 01:04:16 AM EDT 
Started by Balan - Last post by Balan
        Balan awoke to footsteps moving across the living room. The floor creaked as Grennick walked past him to the kitchen. Dubrava's sun shown in through the large plassteel windows of the living room. Balan didn't feel quite right; waking up in an unfamiliar place. Remembering where he was though, and the hospitality he'd been shown, he calmed down mostly.

        He sat up on the couch and stretched. He had slept rather soundly and felt like he would have gone on sleeping, if Grennick hadn't woken him. He was starting to feel normal again; his normal anyways, which ranged from upbeat and eager to anxious and a bit disorientated.

        Half of him wanted to lay back down, the other half to get up and do something. He considered his two options, and decided he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. So, he would do something. As he stood up, his stomach decided for him what that something would be. He made his way to the kitchen to fill the void within him.

        To his surprise, Grennick was making breakfast. He didn't know what he had done to earn a second meal, but he eagerly accepted it. The two didn't talk much. When Samm emerged from their room though, she kept a lively conversation going. To his dismay, however, he learned that he and Grennick would have to leave within a few hours. Balan didn't notice, but Samm wasn't seem too please about it, either.

        Grennick went back to hurriedly taking of chores around the house before they left. Balan, suddenly feeling down, went and stood in front of one of the large living room windows to warm himself in the sunlight. He had wanted to stay longer with Vasira. Now that he thought about her, he wondered why she hadn't gotten up, yet. He felt that familiar anxiety within him. This time it was because he was thinking about what he would say to her before he left.

        As the morning dragged on, Balan sat on the couch. He worried and wondered about her and himself. He just wanted to stay with her. However, his home was Corellia, his family was there. What was left of it, anyways. He wasn’t sure what to do about the situation. Being perplexed was starting to feel routine to the boy. He knew though, that no matter what, they’d always be friends.

        He thought about the moment, the embrace that they had shared the night before. The thought filled him with joy, and he smiled wide. He felt more than just a friendly fondness for her, though. It took him a moment to realize what it was. He realized that he really, really liked her. He was very attracted to her. He didn’t just like the way she looked. He realized that he had been feeling a very strong compulsion to be around her for days now. That epiphany excited him.

        He didn’t know what to tell her, though. Time was short. His excitement was muddled with apprehension. He wondered silently, “do I tell her how much I really like her? What do I say to her? Do I say anything at all?”

        It felt like an hour or more had passed. Balan’s anxiety was high, Vasira still hadn’t emerged from the guest bedroom. Grennick seemed close to being ready to go. He had stacked a pile of equipment just outside the front door, on the deck. He was now in the midst of making more than a few trips to his ship, to load it all. Then he heard movement in the kitchen behind him.

        “Good morning beautiful” Samm greeted Vasira. He couldn’t hear Vasira’s reply. Balan hadn’t made much progress in figuring out how to say goodbye. He had, at least, decided that that was what he should do. He wasn’t ready to leave Corellia long-term, yet. She wouldn’t be safe there. He also knew to tell her that he’d visit.

        “How about breakfast, hmm?” he heard Samm offer her. He heard the noise of dishes, and assumed Vasira accepted the offer. He briefly wondered if he was over-thinking the whole situation, but he didn’t know what else to do. He felt compelled to dissect the whole thing over and over, in as many ways as he could think of.

        Grennick had almost finished loading the ship. The boy knew it was time to say goodbye. He couldn’t though. He was frozen in place by nervousness. Suddenly, the idea of telling her goodbye, of telling her anything, was nerve-racking. He managed to stand up. He looked outside to see Grennick putting the last of the equipment in his arms, and start off towards the ship.

        It was now or never. He needed to tell her goodbye, and he wanted her to know that she was special to him. Compelled by the lack of time, he forced himself to walk to the kitchen. He saw Vasira eating the very same breakfast he had had earlier. An omelette of some sort with a tangy sauce. He briefly smiled at her enjoying the meal.

        From behind the counter, Samm noticed him and turned to him with a smile. Having been spotted he suddenly turned shy. He knew Grennick would be back soon to tell him it was time to go, though. Swallowing the lump in his throat he crossed the room to stand next to her. He hesitated, then he decided to sit on the stool next to her. Having exerted himself doing that much, he waited for her to look at him.

        She seemed to glance at him out of the corner of her eye. She wouldn’t look at him. This confused Balan, but he decided to go ahead and try saying what he hadn’t been able to figure out how to say. “Well, bye Vasira. . .We have to be leaving soon. . .At least, that’s what Grennick said.”

        He didn’t like the sound of what he had said, it had come out somewhat disorganized; but, then he realized that he had said at least part of what he needed to. That made him feel better about it.

        She still wouldn’t look at him. He began to feel awkward waiting for response that wasn’t coming. She finally glanced at him, after what felt like an eternity. “Bye,” she said simply, before returning to slowly eating her breakfast.

        He turned red. Feeling a fool, to have thought this was important. It obviously didn’t seem important to her. “No, this is important” he thought. Feeling like Vasira and Samm were judging him, he pressed on. He had to tell her that she mattered to him. He did so in the simplest, safest way he could think of, in the moment. “I’ll miss you.”

        Nothing. He was getting nothing from her, she wouldn’t look at him, wouldn’t speak to him, wouldn’t show any emotion in her face that he could see. Now he felt like he had humiliated himself. His mind began to race. He had thought they were friends, but now he didn’t know what to think. He wondered if the things he was saying were strange, or if they were normal. She gave him no response, though. She acted as if she didn’t care, or hadn’t even heard him.

        He just sat there for a minute, waiting, staring at the countertop. He started to feel like he should just leave. He noticed Samm watching him. He gave her a desperate look, asking for guidance. She merely gave him a small sympathetic smile, before looking away. Vasira, then, got up and walked into the living room.

        He felt extremely hurt, then. He thought they had a shared a wonderful moment the night before. He thought that they would be friends as long as they lived; maybe more someday. It seemed clear to him now, that Vasira didn’t think that way. He had no idea what she though of him. He was baffled, ashamed, and wounded.

        He heard the door behind him open, as if to punctuate all that had just happened. Samm got up and walked over to her husband. They held each other for a long moment, locking lips. Meanwhile, Balan waited for the words he didn’t want to hear. The ones that would mean he wouldn’t have a chance to figure out what was going on with Vasira, a chance to fix things between them. “Let’s go kid,” Grennick said.

        Giving up, he got from the stool and slowly walked over to Grennick. Desperate, he asked the pilot: “could I maybe, stay here a while; and then go back to Corellia later.” He was trying to buy time to figure things out with Vasira.

        Grennick’s answer came quickly. “Nope,” he shook his head. “I’ve got to head coreward now, and I won’t be back that way for maybe a year.”

        Balan thought he wouldn’t mind being on Dubrava for a whole year, if it meant being friends with Vasira. He felt that he couldn’t do that, though. He felt that he should be back on Corellia. He looked down at the floor, silently acquiescing.

        Grennick gave Balan, and then his wife, a questioning look. He didn’t pursue the matter, though; he was barely on schedule as it was. Grennick kissed his wife once more, and then let go of her. He pushed open the door, and walked off to his ship, expecting the boy to be in tow.

        Balan started to follow him, and then stopped at the door. He turned around to look at Vasira, sitting on the living room couch. “Hey, Vasira.” Knowing it was now or never, he suddenly had a small surge of boldness. His words startled her, and she whipped her head around to look at him. He motioned his head towards the outside,”come here,” he said plainly.

        She turned away from him to stare at the floor. To his surprise, after a moment, she got up and walked towards him. He opened the door and walked outside. He held the door open for her as she followed him. He stared at her face for a moment. She only gazed down at the deck’s wooden boards.

        An hour seemed to pass by, then he spoke. “What’s wrong Vasira? Did I do something wrong?” Again she wouldn’t respond, or look at him. He pressed the matter, his voice showing his desperation. “I thought,” he choked on his words, but managed to continue after a moment. “. . .I thought we were friends. . .” He couldn’t finish his sentence.

        After several moments of silence, she finally spoke. “We are.” She still wouldn’t look at him, though. He took some solace in her words, but was still confounded and hurt. Suddenly, she walked to the door. As she opened it, their eyes met for a fleeting moment. In her eyes, he saw pain. He knew this was his last chance, to find out what was going on, and to fix it.

        He started to reach for her, but he kept himself from stopping her physically. Instead, he focused harder on her eyes as they turned away from him. Using the force, he entered her mind.

        In his mind’s eye he seemed to be flying between different, foggy images. It was happening so fast, and he felt completely out of control. He tried to focus on the images as they flew by, but they were going too fast. He fixated on one that seemed distant from him. As it neared, he tried to aim for it. As he thought it was about to collide with him, it instead enveloped him.

        He was in a dim room, with dark beige, plaster walls. He slowly recognized it as Onis’ audience chamber. The hutt sat on his dais, and a short white figure stood before him.

        “I have acquired another padawan,” the hutt’s voice boomed. “You will go to him. Befriend him, get him to trust you. Learn what valuable information he knows, and bring it to me.”

        The small white figure silently bowed to the hutt, before turning and walking away. He recognized the figure as his friend, Vasira. He was shocked. He had to know more, though. He needed to know what had really happened.

        He kept watching as the vision before him changed, to a dark duracreet room. The room had durasteel bars on one side. She sat with a young boy, talking to him. He couldn’t make out their conversation, he knew it must have been himself, though. They seemed to be getting along. “This must be her memory of the night before we escaped,” he thought.

        The view of his mind’s eye changed a second time. Vasira stood before Onis, “his master is in the refugee sector. He has been in constant contact with him, since being captured. His master has not been able to find him here yet, because of his disorientation.”

        “Good, give him just enough information for his master to be able to find his way here. The coordinates of one of the sewer pipe ways,” Onis’ deep voice replied.

        As he watched Vasira bow her head briefly to the hutt, he thought “what?!. . .She lied for me?” He felt a bit grateful to her, but didn’t understand what the lie would have accomplished.

        The vision changed back to the cell again. He saw her talking with someone again. He couldn’t make the person, though. He knew it must have been him though, as they were softly talking. He still didn’t understand why she wouldn’t talk to him now, after they had been affirmed their friendship the night before.

        Once again, the vision changed back to the hutt’s audience chamber. “He has no contacts on Nar Shaddaa, and as you know, his master is dead. He is an alderaanian, though.”

        “Mmm, yes. A valuable hostage indeed.” He could see a wide smile spread across Onis’ face. “Those pacifists always pay nicely for their lost little boys.”

        Balan’s confusion deepened. ”She’s continuing the lie? What’s she going for?” he wondered silently. He felt a bit of admiration for her making a complex farce to fool the hutt.

        Once more, the images melted back into the cell. Vasira sat next to a figure, holding them, them. “I don’t remember that. . .I would’ve remembered that,” Balan thought, now baffled.

        The scene changed back to Onis’ audience chamber. Anger filled Balan as he saw Mrastaos there. His red blade slicing through the abdomen of a robed figure, a middle-aged man. From next to Vasira, a young boy leapt several meters to attack the Sith from behind. Mrastaos turned and caught the boy by his neck. Deep sadness filled Balan, but he fought back the emotion. He knew his father hadn’t died that way, and that things had really happened that way. He had won the fight, he had escaped. He began to think that maybe this force power he had was, in fact, a faulty aberration; or that he wasn’t using it correctly.

        The scene transformed before him, Mrastaos and Onis were still there, as was Vasira. A young boy knelt before Mrastaos, screaming in pain. His lightsaber and his two detached hands laying on the ground. Balan felt so much anger, fear, and anguish. He didn’t know why, though. “That never happened!” he shouted at the vision.

       Again it transformed before him. A young girl this time, with dark skin and long brown hair. Lightning arced from Mrastaos’ outstretched hand. With his power he threw her smoldering body hard into a wall. He let her fall to the ground.

        In turn, he watched each of the three young padawans being taken away by Mrastaos. Their arms in binders, and a collar on their neck with a chain connected to it, the end of which was in the Sith lord’s hand.

        One by one, he saw each of the young individuals-a Cerean boy, then a human boy, and lastly a Noorian girl-turn and stare back at him, fear on each of their faces, before disappearing from sight. “They aren’t me” he whispered despondently.

        It had really happened that way, just not to him.

        He let go of the view into her mind, and his vision warped back into what was physically before him. His eyes gazed at the wooden doorframe. He realized Vasira was no longer there. He briefly wondered how long he had been inside her head. His gaze slowly panned over to see her inside, sitting again on the couch. She was bawling her eyes out, her palms covering her face and her fingers digging into her scalp.

        He put the pieces together then, he had been reliving her memories as she had been contemplating them.

        He wanted to go comfort her, tell her everything was going to be okay. However, he didn’t know that they would be. Before the power of all the grief, pain, and betrayal that he had just witnessed in her memory, he acquiesced.

        He saw Samm come around the corner, to kneel down in front of Vasira. She held her softly by the shoulders and spoke soft words Balan couldn’t hear. Balan turned, and in a daze walked to Grennick’s ship and boarded it.

 14 
 on: April 22, 2016, 08:16:59 PM EDT 
Started by Jamion - Last post by Ceid Ankoun
Friday Availability: 5:00pm - All the rest
Saturday Availability: All Day
Sunday Availability: All morning - 4:00pm
Class Role Availability:
--Sage - DPS- Preferred
--Vanguard - Tank
--Scoundrel - Healer
--Every other class and role.
Preferred Difficulty - Hard


I am not the best at anything, but I am good at most. I can bring any class and any role whenever the need arises, But I prefer to play on Ceid.

If we set a time, I'll be there. When I am not working, I am down to play.

 15 
 on: April 22, 2016, 07:46:46 PM EDT 
Started by Jamion - Last post by Pendor
Friday Availability: 8:30p-12:30a [Note: I should be able to make these times consistently except during finals and an occasional trial*]
Saturday Availability: 2:00p-12:30a [again, except during finals and the occasional firm reception]
Sunday Availability: 10:00p-12:30a [again, except during finals, etc.]
Class role Availability:
--Shadow - Tank - Preferred
--Guardian - DPS
--Gunslinger - DPS
-- Commando - DPS
Preferred Difficulty - Either Story or Hard


*I occasionally have trials on Friday evenings. They start at 5 p.m. and most end by 7:30 p.m., but occasionally they run much later (generally, the very few complex and difficult cases we get a year) - unfortunately, I won't know until the end of trial when it will end, so there may be 1-2 weeks I'm late on Friday

Additionally, I occasionally have law school functions (employer receptions, softball games, etc.) that I have to attend. By and large I should know about these ahead of time, so I can give advanced warning.

Also, Pendor is my only geared character. The others are 65, but they are really only ready for Story mode.

 16 
 on: April 22, 2016, 05:28:08 PM EDT 
Started by Jamion - Last post by Jamion
Friday Availability: 7:00p - 1:00a
Saturday Availability: 2:00p - 1:00a
Sunday Availability: 1:00p - 1:00a
Class Role Availability:
--Guardian - Tank - Preferred
--Sage - DPS
--Vanguard - Tank
--Gunslinger - DPS
Preferred Difficulty - Either Story or Hard

 17 
 on: April 22, 2016, 05:25:07 PM EDT 
Started by Jamion - Last post by Jamion
It has become apparent that the current time schedule for the Friday Operation is not working for most people.  Due to the fact that the last three weeks has been myself, Sagal, and Ceid.

So we have a Straw Poll up to find the best time.  Along with the Straw Poll please list in a post (with the following format):

Friday Availability: Time - Time
Saturday Availability: Time - Time
Sunday Availability: Time - Time
Class Role Availability:
--Class 1 - Role - Preferred
--Class 2 - Role
--Class 3 - Role
--Class 4 - Role
Preferred Difficulty - Story/Hard


*Note: Level 50+ only for the raids in Story mode and only max level characters for Hard mode.

Now please note that filling out these 2 pieces of information constitutes a commitment to this Operation at the times you presented in the role you presented.  Only fill out these 2 pieces of information if you are serious about doing this and you really do have appropriate availability for the time slots you marked.  If you cannot make it on a regular basis specify that in great detail in your post and hold off filing out the Straw Poll for those time slot you cannot regularly make.

Now we are trying to schedule this for an appropriate time for Ceid, his latest availability is 11:00p his time Sunday (due to work) which he informs me is no later than 4:00p Eastern.

I want to thank you for your participation and cooperation in this search.

StrawPoll
http://www.strawpoll.me/10020144
Here is the poll, once again please only mark all the time slots you are absolutely positive you can regularly make.

Likewise if something comes up down the road (computer fries, Internet outage, Power Outage, etc). Please post why you can't make it here.

Poll Results http://www.strawpoll.me/10020144/r

 18 
 on: April 01, 2016, 05:42:43 PM EDT 
Started by Balan - Last post by Balan
        Grennick sat in his pilot’s chair, staring out into empty space. He occasionally glanced at a distant star here and there, but mostly he just stared into the pitch black. The freighter floated in open space, between systems. There was, quite literally, nothing out here.

        A tapping on the cockpit door behind him roused him from his aimless mulling. After a moment Grennick hadn’t moved to answer the knock. T6 uttered a couple short beeps. Slowly, Grennick turned to look at his companion. He nodded curtly at T6.

        T6 rolled over to the door. A panel on his clyndrical body opened, and a manipulator arm extended to press a button next to the door. The door opened to reveal the padawan. He had a bashful expression on his face. He glanced down at the droid, then at Lin. He waited for the pilot to say something. He didn’t greet him with words, he simply turned his head back to look at the boy. Realizing that Grennick wasn’t going to start the conversation Balan cleared his throat and swallowed the lump in his throat. “I might have a way to pay you back.”

        “Ooh?” was all the smuggler had to say.

        Recognizing that that was all he was going to say, the boy continued. “The sith lord I” he hesitated to say the word, “killed; he carried several lightsabers. I took one of them. It’s permeated by the light side, so it must have been a jedi’s.”

        Grennick replied “that’s fine, but, I don’t have a buyer anymore.”

        Balan brought his hand up to his chin as he began to try to think of a potential buyer, “hmm. . .what about the Jedi? They would be grateful to have lightsabers of fallen jedi returned.”

        Grennick turned back to the front viewport. He thought it over for a moment before replying “they won’t pay nearly as much as Onis would. . .but, it’s something.” He stood up from the chair and turned back around to face Balan. “Does it work?”

        Balan realized he hadn’t tried, yet. He eagerly wanted to know what color it was. He unclipped it from his belt. He gauged the distance to the ceiling and decided he had enough room to ignite it in the cockpit. He depressed the activator and a vibrant green blade extended from the hilt. He refrained from waving it around, and after having examined the blade for a few moments he disengaged it.

        When his gaze again met Grennicks, he saw a deep frown on his face. Balan looked down in embarassment. Grennick scolded “don’t do that in my cockpit again, it’s close quarters in here, ya know?”

        Balan nodded his compliance.

        “Okay we’ve got a deal, that saber for the damage to my ship.”

        Balan’s face lit up as he eagerly agreed “okay, yeah.” It felt good to be debt free again. He held out the saber to Grennick; who took it, and nodded in acceptance.

        Grennick looked past the boy to the young, white twi’lek still fast asleep on his couch. “What’s her deal?” he asked, nodding in her direction.

        Balan hesitated, before replying “she shot her hutt master, and ran off with me.”

        “I know that, but what’s she going to do now? Hutt’s are exceptional at holding grudges and meting out revenge. They’ll be able to hunt her down in most any system.”

        The padawan looked back at his first, his concern for her strongly renewed. He was starting to understand how much she had given up for him, and how much she had risked for him. “I don’t know, I don’t think she knows either.” His voice drifted off as he contemplated her future prospects.

        Grennick volunteered a suggestion, “I know a place she can go and be safe. At least for a while. It’s a real backwater world.”

        Balan turned back around to him. “Oh? What’s it called?”

        “Dubrava.”

        “I’ve never heard of it, is it safe there? I mean is it a peaceful place?”

        “Oh yes. It’s quite peaceful.”

        “Well. . .” He paused, thinking about her going instead, to Corellia with him. “What about Corellia?” He grew red-faced at the suggestion, but he hoped the older man wouldn’t notice his interest in her.

        Grennick noticed his interest in her. He smirked at the thought of an innocent, young crush. “No, I’m afraid not. It’s too public of a place, it’d be a lot easier to track someone down there.”

        Thinking of his childhood home, he disagreed, “there are private places on Corellia. I know of a few.”

        “Not like Dubrava, kid. Almost the whole planet is a ‘private place.’”

        “Oh. . .Well, when are we going?”

        “Right now, we’ll be there in about five hours.” Grennick turned around and sat back down in his pilot’s chair. T6 rolled over to the navicomputer, as Grennick started directing him to make the hyperspace jump.

        Balan had nothing more to say on the subject, for the moment. He returned to the main room, and sat in a padded chair next to the couch Vasira slept on. He silently mulled over how he could get her to go to Corellia. He then realized that he should be focusing on how he would keep her safe on Corellia. He reasoned that he could try to find his old home. It’d need some repair though, as it had been abandoned for four years now. He didn’t know if he could perform such repairs, but he was willing to try.

        He felt the subtle jolt as they entered hyperspace. He also thought about getting help from his bothan employer, Collas. He wasn’t really sure he could trust him, though. Vasira would have a decent-size price on her head, and Collas seemed to love credits more than almost anything.

        Still exhausted from battling and fleeing for his life, his mind soon drifted back into sleep.

        A jolt awoke Balan sometime later. Startled, he sat up from his reclined position. He silently waited for something more to happen.

        The door to the cockpit slid open, and Grennick stepped into the main room. "We've landed on Dubrava."

        T6 rolled around Grennick and headed down the ship's main corridor, away from the main room.
Balan rubbed his eyes groggily, it felt like he'd been asleep for only a couple minutes. He was still tired. Vasira stirred at Grennick's announcement, and slowly sat up herself. She grimaced, and held her bandage gently with her right hand. She grew wide-eyed, as she looked around the room. When her eyes fell on Balan, she focused on him and asked "where are we?"

        "We're on Grennick's ship, the one who swooped in to safe us."

        "Ooh. . ." was all she had to say. She was just as exhausted as Balan.

        "We've traveled to an inconspicuous planet called Dubrava. You'll be safe here," the pilot informed her.

        Her expression turned a little hopeful. "I hope you're right," she said with a slight smile.

        Balan knew it was becoming less and less likely that she'd be going to Corellia with him. He still kept trying to think of how he could keep her safe there, though.

        "You two ought to be hungry. It's late afternoon here, let's go have some dinner," the smuggler offered hospitably.

        Balan and Vasira exchanged glances, both wondering if the free meal was too good to believe. Grennick walked across the room to Vasira, and held out his hands to offer to help her up. Balan stood up himself. Vasira understood Grennick's offer, but tried to get up on her own. She made it up, but because of her weakened condition she started to feel light-headed and she stumbled slightly. Grennick gently help stabilize her balance with a steady hand, though. Balan wished he'd been the one to help her. Vasira smiled briefly to show her appreciation, before taking a step to distance herself from his help. She turned back to him and asked "um, which way to the food?"

        Grennick smiled ever so slightly replying “it’s in my home, a little ways from the ship. We should get you in some proper clothes first, though. I think I have something that do, it’ll be oversized, but it’ll protect your skin from the bugs.” He motioned with an open hand in the direction the droid had just gone. Vasira hobbled that way, and Grennick patiently followed. Balan brought up the rear.

        The boy was becoming a little jealous of their rescuer. He felt like Grennick had swooped in and stolen his friend just now. He vaguely recognized that his feeling this way had something to do with Vasira being so aloof with him. He tried to push the jealous thoughts away; he knew they were uncalled for.

        Halfway down the curved main corridor, Grennick spoke “you can change refresher, here.” He pointed to a closed door on the right side of the hallway. He opened a door across from it, “I’ll get the clothes and be right back.” He closed the door almost all the way. The young pair waited silently. Balan started to say he was glad she was okay, but the pilot returned sooner than he expected.

        He handed the clothes to the former dancer, “these were mine when I started out as a pilot. You can keep them.” She held out her hand, but hesitated to take them. She’d never received something for free, truly free, from a stranger. There had always been a hook. “Gone on” he encouraged her, “it’s a gift.” Her expression belied some confusion. She took the clothing, but didn’t fully understand this concept of a gift.

        She then entered the refresher and closed the door behind her. It was Grennick’s and Balan’s turn to wait silently, while she changed. The clothing looked too big for her, to Balan. He would miss seeing her soft white legs and shoulders; but he would be glad to see her in something more dignifying.

        A few minutes later she opened the door slowly. A bashful look marked her face. Balan smiled and stifled a chuckle, Grennick smiled almost imperceptibly. Too big for her, the shirt fit ruffled and puffy on her. The pants were hiked up, and held to her with a belt, to keep them from dragging on the ground. She looked like a little kid playing smuggler dress-up, with her parents clothing. She frowned at Balan, who then tried to hide his smile.

        Vasira started down the corridor again, the two males following. The corridor soon ended, at the entrance to the ship's docking bay. T6 stood across from them at the mouth of the ship’s open ramp.

        Sunlight flowed in and brightened the docking day. As the three of them neared the ramp, Vasira had to start squinting again.

        “T6, stay with the ship. In case it starts to sink again” Grennick directed.

        The droid gave a short mournfully whine.

        “I know, you want to go see the sights; but I need you to make sure the ship doesn’t get stuck again.”

        The droid responded with a couple understanding beeps.

        Grennick held out his hand, directing Vasira to go first. She did so at a careful pace, covering her eyes with her hand. Her eyes still protested at natural sunlight. Balan followed her closely, in case she stumbled again. They stepped off the ship’s ramp and onto ground covered in grass and other vegetation that came up to their knees.

        In front of them sat a wooden structure, with several windows visible. It had a deck that extended along one side of the house. To their left a forested hill rose, the forest extended on their right; the house and ship were nestled in a clearing amidst this forest. Balan noticed that the ground gave way to a bog, about ten meters to their right.

        The boy thought of how Grennick had told T6 to stay with the ship in case it started to sink. He spoke to him without taking his gaze off Vasira; “will the ship be safe? It seems awfully swampy around here.”

        Grennick was a little put off by the question, but he ignored that it was a boy questioning him. “Oh yeah, Dubrava is just one big swamp. This clearing is pretty solid though, usually.”

        Balan didn’t feel very assured by that, but he focused on making sure Vasira didn’t fall.

        A woman opened the door of Grennick’s home, and stepped out on the deck. She watched the three approach the building, as they watched her. Her demeanor seemed to be off-putting to Balan, her arms folded and her had cocked to one side. As they neared the house Balan notice her demeanor seem to soften. As they came up the stairs onto the deck, she greeted them “well, hello honey. Who are your two friends?” Her voice sounded overly-sweet. Both teenagers could tell that something was off.

        She looked a bit younger than Grennick, with blonde hair and soft blue eyes. She wore blue jeans and a beige blouse.

        Grennick responded “hello Samm. These are a couple urchins who needed a lift.”

        Samm turned to the two, examining them.  “Ooh, and how long will they be staying?”

        “I don’t know” he put his hand on Balan’s shoulder; which felt odd, but nice, to the boy. “Balan here will be going home soon, to Corellia. They’re starved, and so am I. How about I help you make dinner?” he offered.

        She hesitated briefly before answering. “Well, there’s not much to eat here.”

        “I’m sure they’re hungry enough to eat just about anything; and I’ll go to the market tomorrow.”

        “Well, how about dinner, then?” she said to the kids.

        The two followed Grennick and his woman into their home, with smiles and empty bellies.

        The interior was simple, with plain décor. However, it was warm and cozy. A fireplace in the middle of the main room contained a crackling fire. The kids sat at the kitchen counter on bar style stools as they watched the couple prepare a meal. It was made with simple, cheap ingredients; but to the two escapees it smelled sumptuous.

        They ate and discussed their week, as the sun descended. They learned that the couple had been married for fourteen years now, and that they had lived here for the past twelve; but that Grennick had grown up on Dubrava as a child. They also learned that Samm was short for Sammana. They didn’t find out much more about the couple, as most of the discussion was perpetuated by Samm asking about them. She also asked Balan about Corellia. She seemed to him to like the idea of an urban planet like Corellia.

        Samm excused herself and asked Grennick to come speak with her in another room. They closed the door behind them, but Balan could just barely hear them speaking. He didn’t care what it was about, though; his belly was full, and whatever kind of chili he had just aten was delicious.

        He and Vasira sat quietly again. Balan wanting so much to say something, anything. He didn’t understand why it was so hard just to talk to her. He thought of an idea, though. He slid off the stool and onto the wooden floor. “Come with me” he said to her.

        She swiveled her seat around to face him, “where to?”

        “I want to show you something, come one.” He walked to the door, and she followed. He opened the door and they walked out onto the deck.

        “Whoa” she said, her mouth hanging open a little.

        “I know right, it’s amazing.”

        They were both captivated, gazing up at the night sky. They were far from the lights of civilization, but they were admiring far more magnificent lights. The sky was filled to the brim with stars. They varied slightly in shade, some twinkled. A mass of them formed a strip across the sky. It was spectacular, glorious, and awe-inspiring. Especially to someone who had never seen the sky before this day, let alone one of it’s most beautiful sights, the galaxy.

        They admired the sight for several minutes, before Balan turned to look at her. She still stared up in amazement. As beautiful as the sky was, he had to admit she was even more beautiful. He had never felt like this about a girl before, he’d had crushes and been attracted to girl’s before. But their shared experience, had bonded him to her. He hoped she felt the same way. He didn’t know what to do about these feelings, though. He desperately wanted to be her friend, at least. He didn’t understand why she hadn’t told him more about her, why she had been so distant with him.

        She noticed him looking at her. She turned to face him, a quizzical look on her face. “What?”

        He was suddenly embarrassed by her noticing him. He looked down nervously, and swallowed the lump in his throat. “. . .Where. . .where do you think you’re going to live now?”

        “I don’t know” she repeated her answer from before.

        He didn’t understand how she still couldn’t know. Motivated by his emotions, he offered “why don’t you come with me to Corellia? I know a place where I think you’ll be safe. I have a job, I can buy you food. . .” he trailed off, not being able to think of what else she would need.

        “Balan, I need to stay far away from Onis’ family and men. I don’t know that I’d be safe on Corellia. It seems to be a lot more accessible than this place. I feel safe here.”

        He looked down, he knew she was right. He had to swallow another lump in his throat. “Can I come visit you?” he asked.

        “Of course, we’ll still be friends.”

        He felt so relieved and excited to hear that. He eagerly hugged her, but restrained himself from holding her tightly, so as not to disturb her wound. She was wide-eyed, shocked by the display of emotion. She brought one hand up and softly brought around his back. Again embarrassed, he carefully pulled back. She looked down bashfully, “I’m gonna go inside, get some water.”

        They came back in to find Grennick and Samm in the main room. There seemed to be an awkward air in the room. The couple seemed a little too quiet to Balan. The moment passed though, and the four of them enjoyed Dubravian swamp floats and a classic mystery holovid, before retiring to sleep.

 19 
 on: March 29, 2016, 12:04:35 AM EDT 
Started by Balan - Last post by Balan
                                                  Epilogue



        After the ship entered low orbit around the moon, Grennick returned to find that Balan had dozed off. His head rested on the girl’s left leg, just above her knee. He cleared his throat. He repeated the sound with more volume. As intended, this stirred Balan.

        His tired eyes looked up at the older smuggler. Balan stayed quiet though, waiting for an earful.

        Grennick used only a few words to make his point. “How are you going to make this up to me, boy?”

        “I returned the saber.”

        “You damaged my ship.”

        The padawan’s face took on a quizzical look “wha- How did I damage your ship?”

        “When you stole the saber, you took out a chunk of my hull.”

        It had been a long week for Balan, but the memory came back to him. “Oh right. When I removed the tracking device.” He stopped, but when Grennick merely waited for him to answer his original question, he continued with his explanation. “I needed it, to find the buyer. If I had let you destroy it, I might not have found him;” he said, defending his actions.

        Grennick’s expression barely changed. “I didn’t need the buyer to find me. I would’ve found him just fine.” Annoyance shown in his voice, but to Balan’s surprise he stayed relatively calm.

        “Well, I’m sorry. Things happened so fast. I got wisked off by that Brody guy. That definitely wasn’t planned. And you-“ realization struck Balan then. “You shot at me.” Remembering that, Balan felt a lot less safe on Lin’s ship.

        “You attacked me. You took the saber from me” the pilot retorted. “Besides, I had set the blaster to stun.”

        “I was just trying to remove the tracking device. I had to keep you from destroy-” realization again struck Balan. “Wait. You had it on stun?”

        Grennick nodded slowly.

        “You mean you weren’t trying to kill me, or blast off one of my appendages?”

        Grennick shook his head slowly.

        “Well, I guess things got out of hand.”

        Grennick nodded again, in a matter-of-factly fashion. Then there was a long moment of silence between the two. Since the boy seemed to have nothing more to say, Grennick reiterated his original question. “So. . .how are you going to make this right?”

        Balan was at a loss for logical words. “But, it ‘s not my fault! You were going to destroy the tracker, I had to-”

        “Look kid, I’m not as stupid as you might think I am.” Lin cut in, the same small amount of annoyance showing in his voice. “I had it handled, before you went off on your little escapade.”

        Silence resumed between the two, and the wheels in Balan’s head began to turn. He remembered thinking that he had to preserve the tracker. He had to, to complete his self-appointed mission. “How could I have known he would take me to the buyer?” he wondered

        Growing impatient, Grennick stared down at the boy.

        After carefully forming what he would next say, Balan asked “what would you have done if I hadn’t stopped you from getting rid of the tracker?”

        Grennick folded his arms, he would put up with the boy’s questions only so long. “I would’ve commed one of my contacts and set up the sale with my real buyer. Not those hooligans we met when we first got here.”

        “And you would’ve let me go with them?”

        “Of course, for all the good it would do.”

        Balan paused thinking. “So. . .” He thought some more. He hated to admit it, but he had made a mistake. He swallowed his pride “I’m sorry I damaged your ship. I can’t foretell the future. . .You started shooting, I thought you might kill me. I took my chance to get away.”

        “Apology accepted” Grennick spoke with a bit softer voice. “But, how are you going to pay to have my ship repaired?”

        “I don’t have any money! I’m not a mechanic, I can’t fix it!” Balan complained.

        Grennick brought his hand to his brow and rubbed it, to release tension. The last thing he wanted to deal with today was a whining teenager. After calming back down, Grennick looked again down at the boy. “Well. I guess you’ll just have to work it off.”

        Balan thought about that. He didn’t mind working, but he was worried about what exactly Grennick would be having him do.

        Grennick started for the cockpit, and then stopped. He turned back around to the kid and said “By the way, I’m going to contact the buyer and make the sale.”

        Balan’s eyebrows raised at that. “Who else is interested in lightsabers besides Onis and Mrastaos?” he silently wondered. He asked Lin “who’s the buyer?”

        Grennick replied “A hutt, named Onis the Grand“ he said with feigned glorification.

        Balan’s jaw dropped a little at that. After recovering from the surprise, he informed Lin “Onis is dead.”

        “What?” the pilot’s expression showed disbelief. “What do you mean?”

        “I mean he’s dead.” He motioned to Vasira. “She killed him.”

        “What?!” Grennick groaned, and with both hands rubbed the top of his head in agitation. “That’s not good.”  Grennick eyes suddenly widened and he took a few quick steps into the cockpit. “T6, change course immediately! Take us out of the system! Just plot a safe trajectory and get us out of here!”

        Balan could hear the droid whistle and beep in reply, and then felt the ship turn.

        Grennick soon returned to the main room. “You’re sure it was Onis the hutt she killed?”

        “Yes, she worked for him. . .until recently.”

        “But how do you know this?”

        “I was Onis’ captive for a few days. At least I think it was a few days, it was hard to keep track of time in my cell.”

        “Go on, how did this happen?”

        Balan paused briefly to search his memory. “After I flew off with that other guy-uh, Brody was his name-we met up with a couple of the guys we met when we first landed here. Only they weren’t working for Onis or anybody nefarious, in fact one of them was a Jedi, Zoronius. I can’t remember the other one’s name.”

        Grennick sighed impatiently, but Balan didn’t notice as he finally had a chance to tell someone about everything that had happened in the past few days.

        “Brody and I landed to meet with the other two, only we never met up as we were ambushed by someone, or someones. Huh, now that I think about it, the person who carried me off was wearing mandalorian armor. I wonder if it was the group that attacked us at the shopping complex. Anyways, the mandalorian carried me off to some thugs, who took me to a cell. I woke up to find that I was the captive of Onis.”

        Grennick put his hand up to stop him, “okay, okay. But how did Onis get killed?”

        “I was getting to that. Well, it turns out that the true party interested in jedi, sabers, and such was a sith lord!” Balan said hoping to blow Grennick’s mind. The pilot merely raised his eyebrows. Disappointed, Balan continued with his explanation. “His name was Mrastaos, he dueled me, and um, won. But Vasira here” he motioned to his friend again, “distracted him and I seized the moment-“ he suddenly remembered what he had done. He felt guilt, and remorse for what he had done. He wondered briefly if he had done the right thing. He pushed the doubt down into his mind, and tried to continue with his story. “I, I, I killed him.” He suddenly couldn’t make eye contact with the smuggler, but he kept on relating the events. “Anyways, um. Things got crazy at that point, Onis’ guards came after us. Vasira then shot Onis, in the head, several times. Then we ran, took an elevator to the surface. Fought some more, and then you showed up.” He paused to catch his breath. “Which we’re thankful for.”

        Grennick had a dazed look on his face. He seem to come back to reality and then said “Hm? I wasn’t listening.” Balan’s face dropped at that, which Grennick noticed. “I’m kidding” he revealed, before rubbing his forehead in frustration. Balan started hoping he’d react well to the explanation, having realized that he may have interfered yet again, with Lin’s pay day. “That makes things difficult” the smuggled explained. “I needed that money” he blew out a long sigh. “But. . .at least Onis is dead. That’s about as much justice as I can ask for.”

        Now it was Balan’s turn to wonder. His expression again turned quizzical, “what do you mean?”

        Grennick looked him dead in the eye, Balan held the gaze for a couple moments before looking down. The pilot wondered if he should really tell the boy or not. “That lightsaber, the one with the silver blade. It belonged to my friend.”

        “Yessil Qur was your friend?!” the padawan blurted out. He couldn’t imagine a powerful jedi knight being friends with a scruffy cargo pilot. He suddenly realized that what he had said was rude. He closed his mouth and hoped Lin would let it go.

        The pilot again stared at him until the boy looked away, before continuing. “Yeah, we go way back. I managed to get his saber after he died.” Suddenly feeling like he had said too much, he turned to go back into the cockpit.

        “Wait, did Onis’ men kill Yessil?” Balan asked, trying to get more of the gaps filled in.

        Grennick stopped, without turning around he said “no. But he’s responsible for a lot of jedis’ deaths. Probably doing business with that lord Mrastaos you mentioned.” Without another word he walked into the cockpit, and closed the door behind him.

        Balan was left to wonder and try to fill the missing pieces on his own. He didn’t get far, as he soon fell back asleep.

 20 
 on: March 25, 2016, 01:16:02 PM EDT 
Started by Balan - Last post by Balan
Whew! I had written out the ending and tried to post it all at once, but it made spread out it accross more than one post, because it exceeded 20k characters. Thus, three posts all at once.

Stayed tuned for a couple epilogue posts.

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