WE ARE ALTOGETHER
Previously: Two for the Price of One
Themesong: The Emperor’s New Clothes by Panic! At the Disco
What? You can’t fucking Time Travel backwards from a future that never existed… Apparently, JJ Abrams has gotten his hands on the Original Trilogy, because… well… you read.
“Episode IV: Out of Time”
It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire, ruled by the iron triumvirate of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Darth Vader, having returned from the future with the plans for a terrible new Ultimate Weapon, The Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Even now, this titanic fortress is under construction, while the Dark Lord’s Inquisitors hunt the surviving Magi across the Galaxy. It is five years before the battle of Yavin… and time is running out for the rebellion.”
See what I mean? There is no Vader in this timeline! How can he travel back in time from a future that… oooooohhh… Executive Meddling! That’s what this is. “BAAANKER!”
“This is your doing, isn’t it?”
“Well… of course! Couldn’t have the fact that you completely destroyed a perfectly serviceable plotline-”
“Please! Sheev Palpatine already had all the power… he didn’t need to be Emperor. He didn’t need the Jedi out of the way. Religions and Revenge Schemes only make sense if you’ve got a long standing personal stake. Like if you were raised on it. But Sheev wasn’t raised Sith. He was Plagueis apprentice. It’s all about power to him. There’s just no way he’d actually care about a thousand year plan for revenge… especially since not only did he murder his predecessor, but so did every one of them going back to the time of Darth Bane. I cannot conceive of a clique less likely to be dedicated to the concept of Revenge.”
“Oh, please. The Romans sacked and burned the Second Temple and enslaved 30,000 jews to pay for the Colosseum and I’ve never heard a single jew suggest tearing it down, let alone getting revenge on the Italians. Hell, we didn’t even ask them to pay to rebuild it. Literally everyone involved is long dead… and the Sith have the institutional memory of a grapefruit.”
“How do you know-”
“I just know, damn it. I know things!”
“I think you’re taking this personally.”
“A Time Traveling Darth Vader comes back in time to hunt my Magi after I go through the effort of trying to force the Republic into a better, more stable form! Of course I’m taking it personally!”
“Don’t be like that! Just imagine all the fun you can have beating up Tie-Fighters and drinking blue milk.”
“You’re lucky I can’t throttle you.”
“You want CP, or what?”
“Uuuu…. Yesss. Fine. But if Darth Vader turns out to be Jar-Jar Binks under the helmet I’m going to give Mensarius the final bit of the key.”
“Now now, no need for threats. I promise, Jar-Jar is not Vader.”
“Great. So, I assume I have to buy Force Sensitive again if I want the power bump.”
“Indeed! But this time, Force Sensitive is in addition to your choice of Background and Race… though you can’t be a Droid and a Force Sensitive.”
“Gee… and I’d sooo wanted to be made entirely of metal and wire.”
“No need to be prejudiced against mechanical lifeforms.”
“They’re not lifeforms. They don’t self-reproduce, they don’t consume food or fuel of some kind, and they’re droids.”
“Sue me. Wait… what about Skippy?”
“The Jedi Droid.”
“What about it?”
“It was a Droid and Force Sensitive.”
“I didn’t say it was impossible. I said you can’t be both.”
“…. fine. I’ll take Force Sensitive… again… Wait, how much CP do I have? Have you already picked drawbacks for me, again?”
“You have 1600 CP… and I promise not to make you a Slug this time.”
“You’re going to make me be a Wookie, aren’t you?”
“I couldn’t be a Chiss instead, could I?”
“Nope… but I’ll be nice and let you buy a Chiss Alt-form that you can’t use this jump!”
“Why would I want a Chiss Alt-Form that I can’t use to be a Chiss? In another other jump I’d just be Cosplaying Admiral Thrawn.”
“Your forced imprisonment has damaged your already fragile psyche, hasn’t it?”
“You could always be a Chiss if you choose to Return!”
“You know what? If the total cost for Wookie and Chiss is 100 or less, sure. Fine. I’ll take it.”
“Excellent. That’s 1300 left, after buying races and Force Sensitivity. What Background would you like?”
“What you got?”
“Besides Drop-In? Bounty Hunter, Soldier, Spy, Royal.”
“Huh… toss the perk trees up and give me the wheel of fate so I can spin for age and location.”
“Oh. You’ll be starting at Mos Eisley, and you’ll be 14.”
“You’re a wretched hive of scum and villainy, you know that?”
“You say such nice things.”
I looked at the perk trees and considered. Drop-In was the Han Solo line, with perks about getting places fast, getting people to like you or promote you, and to know a bad scene when you land there. Bounty Hunter was the Boba Fett line, though unless something had gone terribly wrong… which seemed likely, Fett and son were still locked in Carbonite in my secret vault on Coruscant. The entire line was… bizarre, except the capstone. The freebie allowed you to charge triple the going rate and always get paid, even if your employers betrayed you. That was followed by a perk that meant people always assumed you were dead whenever anyone suggested it… seriously? Then 400 points for the ability to definitively prove you killed someone even if you vaporized them. Why would anyone want that? The only one that made sense was the capstone, which was a really nice hunting / tracking perk… if you liked that kind of thing.
Royalty was, of course, the Leia line, and ooooh dear lord was it… enthusiastic. Rallying Speeches, Recruitment, Imprisonment Insurance, and Presence. It was… yeah… the whole package. I was tempted, but it was just a little too specialized in overthrowing the state and usually I just went for the top.
Spy and Soldier didn’t seem based on anyone in particular, and both were interesting. Spy had Stealth, Intimidation, Interrogation… and a really nice Conversion of the Enemy Perk… but aside from that one, called “You Will Join The Right Side”, I didn’t have to have any of them. I considered, then selected Soldier, which ate another hundred of my CP, but got me “A Bit Too Close” for free, which was a general combat luck perk that pretty much augmented my ability to dodge the right way just by pure chance. It wasn’t reliable, and I certainly wouldn’t have bought it on my own… but the 200 and 600 point abilities, before discount of course, were just nifty. The 400 one was… weird.
“I Think It’s Time I Finally Told You That Story…” was the first of them. It allowed me to send those listening to my recounting of a battle to sleep. Hahah… yes, I’m boring… shuddup. What was special about this was that, while they were asleep (and it was a choice for them, not an enforced effect) they’d enter a perfect recreation of the battle in their dreams. They’d find themselves taking part in the battle as if they were soldiers for one of the factions that took part in the fight, fully trained and equipped in a role of their choice. The recreation would be accurate to the history, even if I purposefully lied about the story, though any participant could change things if they tried hard enough. The effect would end if the story concluded or something interrupted the story, and no one would be permanently damaged or traumatized by the events they’d witnessed, nor would they get to keep their new skills… though I suspect they’d keep the memory of using them and enough exposure could be used as a training method.
The whole concept was… fascinating and I could see the utility. I’d been through a lot of battles over the centuries. Not useful, but interesting enough to warrant the cost, even if it wasn’t enough to warrant being a solider. No, that distinction came from the near total battlefield awareness granted by the Soldier’s Capstone. It was called “A Command Post Has Fallen!” and it was… glorious.
ACPHF gave me supernatural awareness of the battlefield, up to and including the exact number of troops on each side, who was responsible for each kill, and the precise location of my current objective, as well as places of strategic importance and knowledge of when those places were under attack. I’d have paid full price for that one. Good thing I didn’t have to.
I did not, however, take “Select a Class”, which was the weird one. It was a six setting loadout swapper, allowing me to (as long as no enemy was in sight) swap between 6 different “Class” presets of gear… gear that I had to own already. I… Requip was sooo much better… Thanks again Erza.
That left me with half my CP. “Is there group Import this time?”
“There is, in fact. A two-for-one deal too.”
“You mean one of those where I pay X amount of CP and all my companions get twice that much? Is it otherwise free?”
“Yes, it’s free. No, it’s not all your companions. Just 8. Trying to get me to ‘accidentally’ let all your companions get 800 CP isn’t going to play here, little miss.”
“I would never!”
“I can read your mind.”
“No you can’t.”
“At a certain point, you stopped being able to do so.”
“How do you know that?”
“You had to ask me for the downloads of the various seasons of animation I made while in Asgard Jail. And you didn’t know about them. I think you can only read my thoughts now if I either allow it or am broadcasting.”
“All your powers come from me you know.”
“I do… and that’s what makes this interesting… I think… I think this is about growth. You’re like… a gardener and I’m like a tree. You provide water… CP… and Fertilizer… Drawbacks… and sunshine… the various jumps… but you don’t know what, exactly, will grow. I don’t think you’re omniscient… just… objectively omnipotent. I think, suspect, that as you provide me with more room to grow, I’m growing beyond what can be easily influenced or shaped… without direct permission. I’m certainly becoming important enough for your colleagues to begin messing with.”
“Yeah… well… you haven’t reached a point where you no longer need a gardener, so bear that in mind.”
“I will. Won’t stop me from giving you a hard time… but this Spark thing… that’s Graduation, isn’t it? That’s leaving the nest, leaving the safety of your garden and having to move on.”
“Only if you pass.”
“Well… of course. Anyway. I’ll take the Import… and that spy perk, “You Will Join the Right Side”. With that I don’t even need to defeat my enemies in battle to convert them. Blackmail, persuasion, seduction, befriending… hell… that’s just nice.”
“Don’t want any new Force Powers?”
“Don’t I have all of them?”
“Well… no… but I see your point. How about equipment?”
“Anything super interesting?”
“Errr… no. You do get some freebies.”
“You could build your own ship?”
“Got ships. No thanks. Tell me about the freebies.”
“You could have a baby Rancor?”
“I have a Ziggy. I think he wins.”
“Right. Good point.”
“All the basic Force Powers again.”
“An Energy Slingshot.”
“A small wrist-mounted weapon that fires energized projectiles that are strong enough to temporarily stun unarmored individuals.”
“Ooooo… such yay. Much… yawn.”
“It has unlimited ammo.”
“I might have to… improve the output… a little.”
“I’m so glad I’m intangible.”
“You… should be. You…. Should…. Be.”
“You’re not nearly as intimidating as you think you are.”
“Have you seen my Ferret Tengu Form? I have 6 inch fangs!”
“They could be Six!”
“You’re a shapeshifter. You could be a walrus if you wanted…. Please stop being a Walrus.”
“Nof! I amf de beft Walruf!”
“You’re a Hutt with Lightsabers in your mouth.”
“Yes… yes. Best Walrus.”
“Beft Walruf Efa?”
“If I say yes, will you stop?”
“Then yes. Best. Walrus. Ever.”
“I can’t believe I put up with you.”
“I know! It’s like you enjoy pain or something!”
“Well, you also get a signature outfit like Han’s Shirt and vest ooor Chewie’s Harness.”
“I will wear a hat.”
“Fine. You do that. And a Slave Outfit.”
“What? Like Leia’s slave outfit? For a Wookie?”
“Why are you giggling?”
“Wookie and sexeeeeeee….. ahahaahahah!”
“Er… yes, well.”
“You sure I can’t be a Chiss?”
“Yes. Fine, you can be either a Wookie wearing a hat or a Chiss wearing a slave girl outfit. That’s it.”
“Did you just call me a spork?”
“I DID! Best utensil evar!”
“You know, for that, I’m almost tempted not to give you your Hangar Bay or Mediation Chamber.”
“I get a Hangar Bay and a Meditation Chamber?! WOOO!”
“Yes… The hangar bay from-”
“Where the Mil Falc was when they first got on board and Vader’s Pod thing?”
“Yes. Those would be them.”
“Awesome! Must add fog machines to the Meditation Chamber!”
“Not going to ask why.”
“Prolly best. Anything else?”
“You get a-”
“SLAB OF CARBONITE WITH A BUTT STICKING OUT!”
“Have you been drinking?”
“I dunno… have you been drinking?”
“I do not imbibe alcohol.”
“You should! It makes things funny.”
“Maybe I’m Minbari.”
“Oh. Then don’t.”
“You get a training remote and a speeder.”
“An Imperial 74-Z? Does it have racing stripes?”
“Why would it have racing stripes?”
“To make it go faster!”
“Paint doesn’t make things go faster.”
“You’ve never been to Illegal Aliens then.”
“I… oh… yes. Well.. you haven’t been there yet, so no applying chromodynamics to the speed calculations.”
“I’m going to paint it red and add racing stripes… and flames… black flames!”
“I’m so happy for you.”
“Wait, you said a training remote. You mean one of those little floaty zappy droid things?”
“Yes. Those are the ones.”
“Excellent! I shall name it… Bippo! No, Isaac!”
“Violates the First Law of Robotics.”
“Of Course. So, who are you bringing with you?”
“Well… lets see. It should be people who haven’t already come to the GFFA. That rules out Yoiko, Ryoga, Velma, Kohina, Mini, Franky, Tokimi-chan, Yuzu who all went to KOTOR-”
“Your Harem… minus Cirno.”
“They’re not my… they’re… fine, yes. Be that way. It also rules out Bart, Zane, and, of course, Meetra. And I’ll let Joy and Ahab do their own thing, as usual.”
“That still leaves 14… not counting the twins.”
“The twins are still grounded. I note that, despite all the time that’s passed, they haven’t apparently aged a day.”
“They’re linked to a Jurian Tree, but even without that, nothing ages in the Warehouse.”
“Well, that just not true. Even setting aside the cheese shop and brewery and other things that ‘Age’, the plants in the Lifestream Garden grow just fine.”
“Okay… I meant that things that are supposed to age age and things that aren’t supposed to age don’t.”
“But they’re like… teenagers. They’re supposed to age to their prime.”
“Their parents do not desire that to happen, and since you haven’t over-ruled their desires, they remain biologically the equivalent of 15.”
“Well… fine. I’ll worry about that later. Rayray wouldn’t understand this place… but watching her destroy Tie Fighters would be awesome. So her. Dyna’s an alien. So her. Kendra. AJ and Francine… and might as well toss in Petra as well. That leaves two. Might as well make it the Odd Couple.”
“The Odd Couple? Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau?”
“Cirno and Toph.”
“They aren’t dating. Despite the Fairy’s… proclivities, Toph remains, much to your evident frustration, heterosexual.”
“True. But Lemmon and Matthau… sorry Felix and Oscar didn’t date either. They bickered. And Cirno and Toph bicker more than any other pair in this Ka Tet.”
“Fair enough. I have distributed build tablets to them.”
“Tell them not to take Force Sensitive. I can just make them Force Sensitives as a Conduit, right?”
“Strictly speaking, only in other universes, but yes. Not much difference between doing it now or later.”
Barely paying attention, I looked down on Tatooine’s night side and muttered “I bet Rogue One has come out while I’ve been gone.”
“No time has passed in your home world.”
“Yeah… I know… just… a feeling. Can’t explain it. I know it doesn’t make any sense. If I’d remained on Origin I’d be long long dead and almost certainly so would every trace of the civilization I knew. It’s been, what… 13,333 years?”
“One month shy, give or take a couple of days.”
“Heh. If one minute passed back home for every day I’ve been jumping, a little over nine and a quarter years would have passed. If one day passed for every year… it would have been thirty-six and a half years.”
“Yes. I can do math. And if 1 second passed every year, you’d have been gone less than 4 hours. Relative Time between dimensions is meaningless unless a single thing brings two or more timelines into sync with each other.”
I sighed “Okay, okay. I’m being a bummer. So how long is this jump?”
“You assume it’s not the standard length?”
“I assumed last time and it turned out to be 13 years.”
“True. This jump is 10 years.”
“Wuuuunderful. That’s what… just past the end of Episode Six?”
“Mebe. Depends on which Episode Six, doesn’t it.”
“Yes. I suspect very much it does. Have the minions finished their builds yet? I’m anxious to see how you’ve managed to make an Empire when I pretty much trashed any hope of there being a damned Empire.”
“They have. Would you like the breakdown?”
“Briefly. Nice to know what I’m working with… to the extent I can with you playing fast and loose with the drawbacks and history.”
“Would I do that?”
“You apparently gave Darth Vader a Time Machine.”
“I think you’re just jealous I didn’t give you one.”
“Envious. Not Jealous.”
“Envy is wanting what others have. Jealousy is stopping others from wanting what you’ve got… haven’t we had this conversation before?”
“Eh. Who can remember. It’s been ages!”
“Right. Whatever. Breakdown.”
“Your little Swordsman will be playing the part of an Umbaran Spy named ‘Vekkin Nas’, one who uses a Bowcaster when he’s not stabbing people with a lightsaber. He took the complete Spy Package, which comes with a Voice Scrambler mask and a bunch of disguises.”
“Well… that sounds reasonable. Francine?”
“A Dathomiri Bounty Hunter. Since you learned Dathomiri Sorcery, you can make her one with relative easy. Her name is… ahem… Fon Du.” I snorted.
“Yes. I thought so. She picked up a TIE Intercepted, an E-11 Sniper Rifle, Electrobinoculars, Mandalorian Armor, and the Proof of Death and Tracking Perks from the BH line.”
“Excellent. I suspect I have a number of Bounty Hunters.”
“Less than you’d expect, I think. Four Spies, only three Bounty Hunters.”
“The others are Soldiers?”
“Drop-Ins and a Royal.”
“I thought companions… oh… right. Joy?”
“Indeed. It qualifies for her Auto-Import. She and Ahab still don’t get ships, as the Jump Tree strictly prohibits Companions from Buying Ships, Drawbacks, or other Companions.”
“I knooow! I’m soooo broken up about it. Whatever will I do without another Piece of Junk Star Wars Light Warship.”
“I might. I should see if Slave-One is where I left it. But enough of that. Petra?”
“A Droid Spy. Remote Chassis-”
“That means she’s a little flying sphere? Like one of Darth Maul’s hunter-seekers?”
“Bigger than that, but yes. Flying. Sensor Module, a Basic Vocabulator with Voice Modulator… that means she can mimic the voice of anyone she’s got a voice print of… Personal Shields, Bubble Shield… Built in Blaster… Enhanced Optics… As a Spy she took ‘We Have Ways of Making you Talk’ and ‘I’ve Altered the Deal.’ Goes by RK-1.”
“Wait… does she still get a Slave Outfit?”
“She’s a not even vaguely humanoid… I assume she’s a kind of multi-limbed flying crab thing?… she doesn’t even have bits to show off.”
“I know. In her case it will be a completely for show Restraining Bolt.”
“Oh… well. I guess that makes sense. RayRay? Wait… don’t tell me… Rodian?”
“You know your large green reptiloid well. Yes. Rodian Drop-In. Rodak Ro. Less than 12 Parsecs, Declaration of Rebellion. Bantha Milk. Speeder Bike.”
“W… wait… she took only the cheapest perk from Drop-In… and the Royal Capstone… and the bike that’s free for Soldier? Did you explain that she’d get a better deal if she took Soldier?”
“She didn’t care.”
“And this is why I normally double… never mind. Her choice. Dyna? Tell me she was smarter? Or at least… more invested?”
“A Zeltron Spy.”
“The PINK PEOPLE?”
“THE PINK PEOPLE WHO ARE NEARLY CLUELESS AND OBSESSED WITH LOVE?”
“That would be them.”
“AHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA—can… can’t breathe… oh… oh… this… this is too… ahahaha… go… go on. She… she… you… she picked them because they’re pink, yes?”
“Did you tell her about them?”
“She took most of the Spy Line, and For The Alliance from the Royal Line. As well as an A-Wing Starfighter, an Incinerator… that’s a flame thrower rifle… and a Speeder Bike.”
“I’m forming my own Speeder Gang, aren’t I? That’s three. What’s she calling herself?”
“Yes. She thought you’d appreciate that.”
“It’s cute. Kendra?”
“A Chiss Drop-in named Thrimp.”
“Tell me she took advantage of the discounts.”
“She did. All four perks. A Cycler Rifle, and the 4th Speeder Bike. You can now pretender to be the Speeders of the Apocalypse.”
“Har. Har. Har. Waaait… Thrimp? Thrawn… Prawn… Thrimp… Shrimp?”
“I would not know.”
“An Icarii Bounty Hunter named Mesac.”
“You allowed that?”
“It’s on the list of Near-Humans.”
“I… yes… well.. Fair enough… shit.”
“Pretty sure the Icarii were hunted to extinction by the Empire. Can’t remember when though. Before Yavin though. I think.”
“Maybe you can stop it.”
“I’ll try. Literally bigger fish to fry. What did she buy?”
“A CR-1 Blaster Cannon.”
“Three of the four Bounter Hunter perks. Everything besides the Proof of Death one, and Rebel Spies and Traitors from the Royal Line.”
“Might come in handy. Cirno?”
“A Jawa Spy named Martini.”
“A… Jawa… Spy… Martini? She’s going to be a Jawa James Bond? A Sandy Lothario? That’s just… terrifying. What did she take?
“Oh, all the Spy Stuff… and the royal perk ‘They Have to Rescue You’… you do realize there’s nothing there for you to bang your head against… are you generating a telekinetic force field to bang your head against.”
“Well, that’s just silly that is.”
“Going… to… throttle… stupid… FAIRY!”
“She said you have to catch her first.”
“Want me to tell you about Ahab and Joy?”
“Suuuuure. Can’t be more annoying, they don’t get points to squander.”
“Ahab is a Humanoid Chassis Droid Bounty Hunter named Phantom Pain. Joy is a Royal Vorzydiak Force Sensitive named Slepa.”
“Har har on the names… what the heck is a Vorzydiak?”
‘Largely isolationistic, hard working, smug about it. Yellow skinned humanoid.”
“Oh… huh. I guess it works. Of course, a three headed monkey wouldn’t be out of place in this setting. Insertion time?”
What can I say about Mos Eisley that you don’t already know? I mean… everyone knows that it’s wretched hive of vum and scillany, that Tatooine is full of countless gangsters and criminals, and that Mos Eisley is pretty much the epicenter of all that naughtiness… It was hot. It was sandy. It smelled atrocious. I hadn’t really noticed as a Hutt, last time I’d been there, but as a Wookie I noticed alright… especially as I was 14 year old Wookie… at 14, Wookies aren’t even pubescent just so you know.
“Papa Bail? Why are we here?” I heard myself ask as I dropped into the consciousness of Bail Organa’s adopted daughter, the Wookie Sarbucca… look, don’t ask why Bail Organa had an adopted Wookiee daughter… I was her and even I thought the story was weird.
Bail Organa, Supreme Chancellor of the Republic in exile shushed me. “This Toydarian claims to know how to find General Kenobi.”
“I thought he died in the…” I paused to remember what the incident was called in this time frame. “The Moment of Madness.”
“That’s what everyone thought, but according to reports, there’s a man living here-about calling himself Ben Kenobi who might be the right age.”
“Isn’t the Empire hunting all the Magi that escaped the fall of Coruscant?”
“Yes. Which is why the Alliance to restore the Republic needs to find as many as we can to protect them. Quiet now and let me talk to… Ah, Watto, thank you for meeting me.”
I rolled my eyes as the now decrepit and even more wasted Toydarian fluttered in. For the love… I did not have time for this shit. I scanned the little bastard’s mind, then walked outside, blinking at the double bright sunlight. I pulled a comm unit out of the Warehouse and popped it into my ear. It worked on telepathy, so my inability to speak anything other than Shyriiwook didn’t hamper communications.
“Does anyone have the faintest clue what the hell is going on?”
Zane came on line “Looks like Vader, Tarkin, and Thrawn arrived on scene about the time the last jump ended, with an even bigger army of Clones all loyal to The Galactic Empire, absorbed the Separatists, and conquered Coruscant, shattering the Republic in the process.”
“Escaped capture with Mace Windu. Last anyone saw of him was… 8 years ago. Ahsoka Tano’s apparently been a thorn in the Empire’s side, judging from the bounties on their heads. Ditto Padme… nothing on the kids… though they’d be barely 14 now.”
“Shit. Huh… Thanks. I’ll get back to everyone once I figure out what’s going on.” I shifted to my Hutt form and rolled back inside, “Hello Bail… Watto…”
“Shujak!” the Toydarian nearly screamed, fluttering up out of reach, but I grabbed him with the Force and pulled him down to eye level, pulling him nose-to-lack-of-a-nose with me.
“I always knew you were slime… but selling out a contact to the Empire… that’s low.”
“I-” he opened his mouth to protest, but I force-choked him into silence. He hadn’t had much choice, as he owed Jabba more money than he’d make in a lifetime, and no reason to be loyal to anyone besides himself… but I didn’t have to forgive him for that. I tossed him into the corner and shot him with a Star Trek Phasor I’d rebuilt to look like Han’s Blaster.
“Your daughter is fine. I had some of my followers take care of her. You we need to get out of here. Follow me, I’ll explain later.” Of course, the second I got him alone, I stunned him and slid him into stasis, then went looking for Kenobi.
“What?! How’d you find me? And where have you been for… why are you staring at me like that?” He looked like an elderly Ewan McGregor… I mean… sure… he’d been Ewan before… but for some reason, I’d been expecting Alec… but no… Ewan… and not nearly as old as Alec had been. Early 50s and pretty spry…. Not the early 60’s Alec had been when he’d played the role.
“I was… out of phase… That’s unimportant. We’ve got to get you to the re-” that was when something struck me from behind and the next thing I knew I was Frozen in Carbonite.. All 540 lbs of me. Installed in Jabba’s Palace. Where I remained… powerless and unable to escape (somehow), but fully aware… for almost 5 years!
I waited, in vain, for my companions to come for me… they didn’t. Instead… Padme, Luke, Ben, and a very worried looking Han Solo and a slightly amused Chewbacca… came for me. Padme, dressed as Boushh, was looking for work and Han claimed he was there to pay Jaba back the money he owed him. Luke… looked like Luke, but fitter, more toned, like he’d spent his childhood working out and training and not been a punk kid from Tatooine. He also looked paler… as if he’d been raised on… say… Dagobah. A quick scan confirmed this.
Sorry to say, this rescue mission was no more ept than the canon one… but all that changed the moment Padme hit defrost. ALL my power came roaring back and… Yeah… I might have taken out my frustration on Jabba and his Palace. For instance… I beat the fat fuck to death with his own Rancor, then force-fed said Rancor to the Sarlacc. I’d been forced to pay witness to far too many atrocities to be forgiving.
An hour later, I landed next to the smoking ruins of the desert palace and glowered down at Boushh. “Padme, you look ridiculous. Tell me… Jyn Erso… Rogue One… did they succeed in getting the Death Star plans?”
She pulled off her helmet and shook her long hair. “You really do know almost everything, don’t you. Always one step ahead of everyone else… even after being frozen for years.”
“Much of it. Yes. Broad strokes. You came to get me for a reason?”
“The Alliance is going to move against the Deathstar… but Leia…”
“Leia has the plans and has been captured by the Empire?”
“Yes, how did you?”
“We have to get to… shit… I don’t know… where will… no… it’ll still be Alderaan. We have to get to Alderaan now.”
“That’s where Moff Tarkin is going to take the Deathstar. Signal the Alliance, tell them to get to Alderaan in force. I know where the Deathstar’s weakness is, I’ll transmit it when they get there.”
Han said “My ship can get us to Alderaan in-”
“My ship can get us there faster.” I interrupted him.
“What shi…” He looked up as the Jenny hove out of the sky, dodging fire from the Star Destroyer still in orbit. “That? A CR-90? The Falcon is much faster than… she’s the ship that made-”
“The Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs, yeah yeah, I know. And no, it’s not that ship.” I said as Yuzuha flew down from the Jenny.
“Yes. Excellent. Francine?”
“I am Fon Du!” the whiteskinned bountyhunter said as she ported next to me. “Whatcha need?”
“I’m going to bubble us. You have to get us to Alderaan orbit, Now.”
“Wooo… big port.”
“You can do it. I’ve shifted that far… once. If I can do it, you can do it. You’re the Psychoporter… or I can ask AJ…” She glowered at me for implying that AJ (who is a damned powerful psychic, never forget) could be better than her. He split his effort between sharpening his mind and sharpening his swords.
She nodded, closing her mind, finding the way between, the path of least existence, and space twisted, sickeningly, the sand disappearing to be replaced with high orbit around the shining orb of Alderaan. I caught her as she fainted, then said “Yuzuha… spin up the wings and prepare to defend the planet. I’m taking proton torpedo and ending this.”
No sooner had I uttered the words than I felt the presence, terrible and dark, of a powerful Sithlord entering the system… and thousands of system defence fighters scrambled from the surface of Alderaan… “You’re supposed to be a PEACEFUL PLANET!” I heard myself yelling as I pulled 800gs accelerating myself towards the source of the vergence and the enormous battlestation.
“Don’t forget, Leia’s onboard that monstrosity,” AJ reminded me, and I swore.
“Shit.” I had forgotten. “Right. Hopefully it does take awhile to cycle between full power shots. AJ, take Petra, Ahab, and Cirno… and Luke and Han… but not Ben… and Victor and go get the… well, I guess she’s still a Princess. I’ll be out here destroying weapon emplacements and holding a gigaton bomb on my shoulder… no hurry…. Holy shiiiit.”
“The Deathstar… It’s CHROME! It’s Freakin’ Chromed… like… like a damned disco-ball. That’s just… wro… It’s charging the main gun. That probably means Leia’s on the bridge. Yuzu, Wings up now!”
There should not be sound in space. An explosion has to be titanic to actually push enough of the diffuse interplanetary medium close enough for sound waves to propagate… this is also why nukes are actually much much less useful in space than one might think, one of the major reasons most space tech uses energy weapons. Of course, those have their own problems… photon packing density for one, beam coherence for another… but the main beam of the Death Star didn’t care about any of that. The SOUND (as it was too loud not to be in all caps) was… imagine being hit with a quilt that’s been soaked in boiling water… at 30 miles an hour. That’s what the SOUND was like. It hurt my everything, offended every sense of rightness, and screamed through the void like green death and, for a moment, I doubt Yuzuha… and then… the beam shattered as my flagship threw one of her Wings of the Dark Hawk in front of it.
If you have never beheld a Wing of the Hawk, Light or Dark, you can scarce imagine its power, and even seeing them flared like the trinatistic petals of a vast spaceborne flower, it is like viewing a shining diamond of anti-carbon, shining and lovely and inconceivably deadly. Wings of the Light Hawk (and Yuzuha’s shadowy counterpart) held destructive capacity on par with the main cannon of the Death Star II… and First Generation Ships could not only generate three of them at a time, but could recharge an expended wing in roughly a minute… which would have, already, made them weapons of untold destructive power… except that they weren’t weapons. Their titanic capacity for destruction was a mere side effect of what they were, like being hit by the edge of a Spartan Hoplon… for Wings of the Hawk were, at their most basic… shields.
The brilliant green horror that had stabbed from the chromium abomination fragmented, crazed, transformed into coruscating walls of emerald lightning as tall as the orbit of Sol’s Jove and in that moment the dark side of Alderaan was lit by verdant midnight. “Wing at 40% and recharging”, Tokimi announced from Yuzuha’s bridge and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Minor disruption of the Force around the planet.”
“How’s it coming guys?” I commed the rescue squad “The Alliance will be here shortly and there are a metric fuckton of turbolasers on this thing.
“Mother’s nagging again. She must be worried about us.” AJ commented to Petra, who boopboopbooped in return. Ahab announced “We’re in the prison block n-” but then there was a surge of static as an, I swear to Almighty God, Chrome TIE Interceptor came arrowing out of the darkness, aiming for me and opening fire. Either Chrome made the thing go faster or it was one heavily futurized TIE-I… because I was having serious trouble dodging the thing… even with combat precog. Darth had leveled up! Bastard!
Minutes seemed to crawl by as I juked and dodged and did my best to return fire without dropping my cargon or losing focus on the flow of battle swirling around me. Four, five, six, and I felt the Death Star beginning to cycle energy back into the massive Planet Buster weapon, no doubt supercharging it this time. And then the Alliance showed up, a half dozen Mon Calamari Cruisers and fifteen Nebulon B’s, dropping out of hyper in a near perfect block and opening up with all guns, their fighters screaming out to support the remaining Alderaan system defenders. The numbers of allied and enemy fighters rapidly equalized and then the Empire began losing fighters rapidly as the technical superiority of A-Wings, Y-Wings, and X-Wings overwhelmed the far far cheaper mass produced TIE fighters.
“Get to the Temple of Cardboard. Meet you there!” I yelled, then turned my back on Vader and dove straight for the trench leading to the Death Star’s critical vent, dodging and juking the entire way, my telekinetic shields struggling to deflect the hellacious amounts of fire that blasted Chrome-plated lunatic was pummeling me with.
Feeling my energy reserves getting low, I pulled an Elixir out of my warehouse and chugged it, cursing the need and myself for not picking up more than 999 of the damned things… then I cursed myself again and pulled my flask of felix felicis out of storage and took a hefty swig of that as well. “May God, Luck, and the Force be with me.” I said, tracing a Star of David in lines of fire before me as I called up the most powerful Offensive Sign ‘Light Heat Attack’ I could. “It’s not the Deathstar. It’s a giant silver Neuroi… Yeah… That’s my story, I’m sticking to it.”
I raced along the trench, using Soul of Ice in her Protonic Canon form to one-handedly blast gun emplacements to smoking space-dust, then the vent was ahead of me and Iobbed the bomb straight and true into it. Swish, three-points. She shoots! She Scores! I turned sharply, racing away from the doomed battlestation, screaming “BEST WALRUS EVAR!”
30 seconds later, from a safe remove, I paused, looking back. “Where’s the Earth…er… Death-Star-Shattering Kaboom? There’s supposed to be a Kaboom.” Instead, what I got was a geyser of atomic fire, a vast thruster-jet lancing out of the Station’s pole. Admittedly, it must have taxed the internal compensators greatly and had no doubt shaken things up a little inside the super weapon… but “RIP. OFFF!” I screamed, diving back towards it… then realized what had happened and sighed. Vader, coming from the future, knew how the original Death Star had been defeated. He’d clearly tampered with the schematics. Bastard. I hate time travellers. Only I was supposed to be able to play the foreknowledge card!
Frustrated, I flicked the sphere off and flew back to Yuzuha, arriving less than 10 seconds before the main weapon of the blasted thing fired off again. The blow was measurably more intense and I felt the ship shake a bit as the first Wing failed completely.
“Enough pussyfooting around,” I announced, striding onto the bridge in my Sant Jara form (I’d discovered on the walk to Ben Kenobi’s place that I could, apparently, only access my Star Wars Forms for some reason… or my apparently now default “Ice Maiden” form.). “Yuzuha, prepare to attack.”
“YAY!” She crowed, manifesting to hug me from behind “I love attacking! What are we shooting at?”
“The Disco Ball of Death.”
“Oooooo. Laser World.”
“Sure.” I glared out at the sphere, then raised my comms and hailed every ship in the system. “This is Supreme Commander Sant Jara of the Magi Order. All ships are advised they have 20 seconds to clear the space surrounding the Empire’s Battlestation.”
Tokimi patting my shoulder “Being Generous, are we?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh. I thought you were worried about the poor TIE fighter pilots.”
“Oh. No. Just wanted to make sure all the Alliance pilots heard me. If the Empire’s flyboys are smart, they’ll bug out too… but I’m guessing there will be idiots on both sides.” I hmmmed, then waited three more seconds. “Fire in the Hole!” I announced, as Yuzuha converted her two remaining Dark Hawk Wings to offensive mode.
The Impossible Unlight of the DHWs flashed across space at the speed of darkness and hammered into the Chromium Sphere like the universe’s largest pool cue. There was a Bong! Of titantic proportions and I twitched violently. “That’s not how physics wooorks!” I growled subvocally, then blinked as the viewscreen showed the Death Star slightly singed, but otherwise unharmed.
“The Hell?” I snapped, then pulled up the footage from the Jenny, gaping as the beams of unlight… flowed around the sphere, sliding across that Chrome Surface like water off of glass. “Okay… fuck it… now… now I’m pissed. Tokimi… link with Yuzu. Help her focus this without getting hurt.”
“Focus wh… oooh.” the goddess asked, as Yuzuha, who was linked soul to soul with me laughed and clapped her hands and bounced up and down happily. I rose out of the ship, shimmering, transforming, all the mes inside my Mental Palace laying their hands upon the giant blue prism at the heart of who and what I was. My form rippled and I grew. I was flying away from Alderaan now, getting bigger, bigger, colder… I paused to eat a passing comet. Mmmm argon.
“Hey, Vader.” I said, broadcasting thought loud enough to shatter weaker minds across the sector “Dodge This.” And I pumped 5 Wings of the Dark Hawk through Yuzuha’s Goddess-reinforced emmitters, holding the tiny ship on hands the size of a dozen Everests.
Yuzuha laughed maniacally and the only reason I didn’t join her is because telepathic laughter from a super-earth-sized Megabrain would probably have killed everyone… or at least their sanity. The Black Beam of FUCK YOU! Lanced across space, so cold it left eddies of unreality in its wake, the leading edge of the beam blackening the chrome with frostbite, then punching through it like it was the ghost of tissuepaper. 66% of the sphere simply ceased to exist, leaving a crescent “That’s No Moon” hanging there for a full second before the lesser reactors and capacitors simply lost containment and began vomiting existing, a thousand lesser explosions ripping the last vestige of the Doomsday Device to kingdom come.
I shrank back down, bleeding the hypercold back into the Heart of Winter, shuddering as my mortal flesh struggled to warm back up enough for blood to… thaw. Hell, my electrons were having trouble remembering what motion felt like.
I sat down on the deck and then fell back, my head landing in Yuzuha’s lap. She grinned down at me “Best Walrus Ever!” she grinned, then kissed my nose. Her breath smelt of rootbeer.
Three Years Later
“Zane? Where are you?”
“Oh… nowhere really. Just… need some personal time. I’ll see you soon.”
“You okay, you sound a little horse.”
“Do not. I’m a canine!”
“You’re an idiot… are you avoiding me or something.”
“Noo… noo… look… I’ll talk to you later… and… don’t tell Padme you talked to me.”
“What? Wait! Wh… damnit!” He’d hung up. I signed and went back to tinkering on my newest toy, one that had, admittedly, taken most of my free time for the last 3 years.
Six Months Later
“Why can’t I go to Hoth with the rest of the Alliance!”
“They’re afraid you’ll turn into an Ice Planet again and they’ll get confused about which of you is which.”
“Ahardy harhar.” I glowered at Bail who was still trying to come to grips with the idea that his daughter was the reincarnation of both Shujak the Hutt and Sant Jara the Magi Supreme Commander… which, of course, made her… me… the legendary Manifestation. Of course, the fact that I’d waved a hand and granted him Force Powers had kinda proved beyond a shadow of a doubt my bonafides, but that’s parents for you. “Mom, Dad, I’m the living Force. I want you to meet my harem. Oh, and I blewed up the Death Star… can I have bigger allowance?”
“They just don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket, and apparently the Empire is really good at tracking you for some reason.”
I growled “I know they are! I can’t figure out how they’re doing it! It’s sooo annoying!”
Six Months Later
“Any Rebellion ships. Do not come to Hoth. The Empire has Found Us. I repeat, the Empire has found us. Go to position Seven.”
“See. Told you.” I commented to Bail as I finished another of the growing stack of massive wedge-shaped droids.
“Yes. and Mon Mothma took your warning to heart. The Empire will regret attacking Hoth.”
“Cool. Is Lando set up?”
“He is. Are you sure you want him to do this?”
“Vader’s managed to avoid me on every occasion where I’ve tried catching up to him. I’ve got to hope he’s still playing by the same timeline for whatever reason. SO far he’s done everything I’ve remembered him doing.”
“Well, the recorders are up, and Luke is standing by.”
“He has faith.”
“I just hope I don’t have to actually replace his hand.”
“You taught him Tutaminis, he should be fine.”
“Don’t make me destroy you! Luke, You do not yet realize your importance. Join me and we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the Galaxy!”
“I’ll never join you!”
“If you only knew the power of the Darkside! Jara never told you what happened to your father.” I gasped as my name was mentioned, frowning.
“She told me enough, and Obi-wan is my father!”
“No!” the chrome plated James Earl Jones-alike said, and I leaned forward intently. “I am your father!”
Anakin, playing the role of Boba Fett, jetpacked down from the top of the shaft. “I would never betray Obi-Wan like that.” He snapped, pulling off his helmet and glaring at his evil future self.
“I never claimed to be you, fool.” Vader said, then jerked as I teleported behind him and grabbed his helmet with one massive claw as Luke lept from the pylon into his adopted uncle’s arms.
“Let’s see who you really are under there,” I drawled, and ripped the faceplate off… to reveal… “ZAAANE?!”
“Darth Cerebris sends his regards.” He said, grinning, then sucker punched me and vanished. I sat down, gasping and very much needing a drink.
I woke up the next morning feeling betrayed, hungover, miserable, pissed off, and wondering when I’d gotten to bed and how… and why I was a male Togruta… and why Ahsoka Tano was… oh… right… err… no one tell Anakin I slept with his padawan… ex-padawan… our little secret okay?
“Fuck it. Tell the Alliance we’re heading to Endor.” I said as I pulled on my clothes and consciously willed hydration back to my brain. Owwww… Fermented Bantha Milk… kill me now.
“Fooolish Jumper! There is no Emperor for me to turn against! There is only Lord Zane! Conqueror of the… did you just throw a dog treat at me?”
“It will not work to distract me! Even though you have arrived six months early, this battle station is still fully operational! And there is no way to reach the Core! Ahahaahaha! Stop throwing Scooby Snacks at me! This is Serious!”
“Dude… you still recruited Mara Jade. I still had Luke Seduce her to the Light Side. We know. We’ve known for almost two years you were building this thing. You’re predictable.”
“NEVER! I AM ZANE! EMPEROR OF DARKNESS! STOP DOING THAT OR I’LL”
“Get your ass kicked if you don’t stop acting like a moron?”
“You Always Insult My intelligence!”
“Only when you’re plotting against me!”
“Yeah? Well, I’ve got a doomsday weapon and it’ll shrug off your trick if you… what are those droids doing?”
“Those droids?” I asked, pointing to the several hundred thousand wedge-shaped refrigerator sized droids that were, even now, closing a circle around the DS2 and dropping out of stealthmode. “They would be opening a subspace rift in three… two… one.”
After letting him drop to his knees, I kicked him in the crotch and stunned him senseless. “You… are… in soooooo…. Much… trouble.” I panted. Then signalled the droids “Grab the Executor too. We can paint it pink or something.”
The Universe wavered and then froze
“Did you just… steal the Death Star Mark 2?”
I grinned at the sourceless voice of the Banker, clearly outraged, as this was the first time he’d actually paused a live setting to question me.
“Best. Walrus. Ever.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“You can’t just… there are… you don’t have the crew for… Fine… but I’m putting all the crew of it, and the Executor, down on Endor. You can either let them be eaten by Ewoks or whatever… but you can’t keep them… and I’m setting all the droids to stupid as fuck.”
“You turned Zane against me!”
“Nooo. Darth Cerebris did that. You just didn’t notice.”
“You made Jar-Jar into ZOMGSITHLORD!”
“You said he was one.”
“I said he was Plagueis having jumped bodies!”
“Eh. close enough. You had fun, admit it it.”
“I averted the destruction of Alderaan and the ecosystem of Endor… so… yes?”
“Well then. Go, have your party. Enjoy yourself.”
“Best Banker Ever.”
Next: World 53 – The Dresden Files
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