So I decided to post some of my shorter stuff here--just to see what y'all think.
This is the newest one--which I know alot of you have already read Title:
Post Corellian Trilogy, Pre-Specter of the Past. EU not AU. Summary:
A little story about Mara, a murder and memories of a time long past. If I gave you anymore you wouldn't have to read the story!Characters:
Karrde, Ghent, Faughn, Mara, and of course Luke. Notes:
Thanks to BigFatty
for being my beta.
I'm breaking this up into two posts. They'll be right next to each other but I wanted a clear break between the two halves of the story.
Oh, and feedback is much appreciated. This story started out being about one thing, and ended up giving me a plot bunny for my next ficlet. I'm not totally satisfied with the way this came out, but instead of shelving it away for no one to see I figured you all might find it interesting. It takes place in an awkward period for Luke and Mara, where I figure some of that odd tension between them in Specter of the Past
Anyways, Thanks for Reading and enjoy!
If you want to read other stuff of mine its on TF.N or on Fanfiction.net or PM me.
MarshalaMarshala: in the literal, bitter love. More often used as an endearment meaning eternal love for a child or a lover.
Silent in the corridor, a lone figure stared at the wall before him. Nervously his eyes flicked across the top of the ceiling, watching the decorative beveled edge until it blended in further down the hallway. With deliberation, he flicked back a strand of blue hair and frowned before counting out the number of tiles running on the bottom edge of that very same wall.
Knowing what he was about to do would probably cost him his life, the boy--no man--risked another glance at the door before him, straining his ears to see if stillness had resumed across his way.
The only sound was a curious ping of the engines as the elegant vessel cruised through hyperspace.
He sighed, glared down at the short message before him, and hit the send key. Blinking, he made his way back to his own quarters—collapsing quickly into his bed. No one will ever figure out that I sent it.
He slept soundly.
Talon Karrde remained worried. Despite assurances, despite the disappearance of the dark circles under his second-in-command’s eyes...something remained out of place.
His reputation depended on instinct—and Karrde rarely made a move unless it was in his better interest. As her boss, he felt bound to order her to take a rest, but he knew that another scowl, another angry look would be the answer.
Something was obviously bothering Mara Jade—and when something bothered her, its name was usually Luke Skywalker. But once again, instinct—that primal, unconscious assertion that guided his path-- said that for once Skywalker had not managed to push Mara’s buttons. In fact, Karrde was sure that neither had seen the other in a very long time.
Maybe that was the problem. But for the moment, stuck in hyperspace on the fringes of the Corporate Sector, there was nothing he could do about it.
Swiveling his chair away from the glasteel pane that overlooked the bridge, his fingers flipped through the schedule for the day, his prior distraction fading away temporarily. When a slight tap came at the door, he allowed them in, without glancing up from his work.
It was Mara—he wasn’t surprised by it--rather, anyone so gifted in the Force as she was, always aware yet always so tightly wound, would know when she was being scrutinized.
He glanced up, and casually leaned back, away from her accusing glare. “Mara, how can I help you?”
She hesitated, then straightened imperceptibly. “I would like to request a day off.”
Now he was surprised. His lips twitched before answering. “When?”
Mara looked down at the datapad in her hand and while she contemplated the answer, Karrde surveyed his second-in command. It had been almost eight months after her return from the Corellian Sector, following the crisis with the Saccorian Triad. Dressed in a signature pantsuit--onyx with dark green piping--her red hair was pulled back severely, the skin around her eyes tight with some unknown tension. Now that he had a moment for closer examination, he could tell that it was not the normal amount of wariness, rather something specific that was bothering her.
She sighed, “When we arrive at Nintali Station. I need to go meet someone.”
He raised an eyebrow, “Oh?” Then, without waiting for an answer he shrugged. “After the delivery, sure. I had planned for some quick maintenance on the Wilde Karrde.
Go ahead.” It was on the tip of his tongue to ask if she wanted back up, but he knew better than to ask. The last time had been a fluke and former Emperor’s Hand was more than capable of taking care of herself.
Nodding, Mara began to make her way to the door before pausing. She turned around, and it was
clear that she hadn’t meant to say anything more—“It’s not Skywalker.”
Karrde, struggled to keep a grin off his face, “Alright. It’s not Skywalker.”
She scowled, “I’m only telling you that so you won’t think I’m talking to the New Republic.”
Again, he raised an eyebrow. “When would I ever suspect you of willingly talking to the New Republic?” He coughed lightly into his hand, “In fact, you and Master Skywalker are friends, I see no reason why two friends shouldn’t get together from time to time.” Immediately he knew it was the wrong thing to say.
Her gaze frosty, Mara tilted her head and practically marched out the room.
She snapped around. “What did you just say?”
Karrde nearly shivered, her voice a degree colder than her expression. “I said, Shada D’ukal may come by with some information. While you’re gone, I may draw up a contract that I’ll need you to review.”
Visibly shaken, the red head nodded, and then took her leave. She obviously had thought he had said something else.
Talon watched her leave, than frowned at his desk, ignoring the lack of buzzing in the back of his head. He knew that some of the crew had been worried about the redhead, and had quietly reported her frequent nightmares—but short of asking her to seek help there was nothing he could do.
Besides, his instincts were silent now.
~~Sometimes, a single word can trigger a memory. Sometimes, we conjure up memories from a single word based on what we want to remember. What is the truth, and what is fiction—often it is hard to tell the difference.
~~Nintali Station: Eighteen Weeks Earlier
“Stupid, Son of Sith. How dare he—“ Ignoring the concerned looks from her crew, Mara half dragged the last crate off the hovercart and then gestured for the loading crew to lift it into the hold of the Jade’s Fire.
“Thinks he can tell me what to do? I’ll tell him what to do with his kriffin’ lightsaber...What!” The hand on her shoulder jerked back, and she found a concerned looking Faughn staring back.
Mara sighed, took a deep breath and tried to expel the remains of her agitation into the Force.
Not bothering to hide her concern, Faughn lowered her voice, “Mara—the shipment is missing a crate. I’ve tried to get a hold of Mesrs, Karrde’s contact here on Nintali, but no one is responding. I’m fairly sure we left it in the warehouse. ”
Mara groaned inwardly, “Shavit, and we are already behind schedule due that bantha brained Jedi Master....” Trailing off she looked at the crew waiting by the second of Karrde’s smaller transport ships. “Go ahead, Faughn. I’ll find out what’s going on and then get them to load the crate up onto the Fire.”
Faughn hesitated, as if she wanted to counter Mara’s orders—but seemed to change her mind, choosing to wave the others onto the transport.
Right before firing up the engines Faughn caught a glimpse of her boss, still muttering to herself, sealing up the Fire
. Waving, Faughn realized the red haired trader seemed to be continuing her tirade against the blue-eyed Jedi.
Aves slid into the seat next to her and let out a low whistle. “Never thought I’d see the day when Mara Jade had a temper tantrum.” He reached forward and urged the ship up out of the docking bay, sending a quick message to Karrde who was stationed in orbit on the Wild Karrde.
His pretty companion raised an eyebrow, “Wouldn’t you if the reason you were held at base was to get a message from someone that ended up containing only words of caution and his usual rapprochement for her not training with him?”
Aves grunted, “How do you know what the message said?”
Faughn grimaced, “Oh I was pretty close to her when she yelled at him to stay out of her head. She railed into him pretty well—and the funny thing is Aves, I’m pretty sure she was holding back.”
He snorted, “Jade wouldn’t hold back, if she did I don’t envy Skywalker when they finally meet face to face.”
Faughn’s eyes were still trained on where the Fire had been in the transparisteel window. “Neither do I, neither do I.”
Mara knew they were talking about her, she could practically hear their conversation, and it made her all the more infuriated with the damned Jedi Master. Still fuming, she quickly re-braided her hair, closed up her ship, and hailed a speeder to the address for Karrde’s contact. The nerve Skywalker had to warn her of danger—she was a smuggler, it was an imminent condition. How could he not think that her danger sense wouldn’t warn her long before his did. Focus Jade.
Feeling the speeder slowing she hopped out in the middle of a small marketplace that hours before—in the early morning din when the initial pickup had been completed—had been deserted.
Now, she shoved her way through the lunchtime crowds bartering with the artisans and food vendors for the best price. Colorful swatches of fabric drifting in the soft breeze blew through the space station’s artificial corridors making the industrial heat somewhat bearable.
Mara ducked into the warehouse, eyeing the wayward crate next to the entryway with the remnants of her annoyance. Normally Faughn or Aves would have come back and picked up the crate, but the entire schedule had been thrown on its head because of her and she would dig up the Emperor’s bones herself before refusing to take responsibility for any mistakes clearly of her own negligence. Shaking her head at the stupidity, she took the stairs to the main office at a leisurely pace, well aware of the two cameras that had to be tracking her movement.
At the top of the climb stood a weathered door, its cracked wood ready to give way at the slightest strain. Regardless, the trader knocked firmly on the frame, taking an unbidden step back when the door slowly creaked open of its own accord. What...
The thought trailed off as her danger sense pricked at the edge of her awareness. All other thoughts bled away as the former assassin slid to the side, removing herself as a target. Shrugging her blaster out of its holster she peered into the room, a smallish office, with a window overlooking the warehouse floor. The blinds were closed, but it was possible that someone had watched her arrival and taken refuge in one of the inner rooms. Reaching out with the Force, she felt a spark of life, a mind fading quickly—and briskly she slid into the reception area, moving lightly and swinging her blaster in a broad arc in case someone started shooting.
A foot stuck out from behind the desk and she inched closer, her nose twitching at the bitter smell of blood.
Karrde’s contact was dead, or soon would be if his quickly fading presence signaled anything to her.
A whisper of her earlier conversation with Luke resurfaced, and Mara had to grudgingly admit that perhaps the Jedi Master had been right to warn her—he had prevented them from returning to this spot by an hour, and by the looks of it had saved her from what appeared to be a ruthless murder. But had he really saved her?
It was a soft whisper, but loud enough for Mara to realize that the murderer was still in the room—that the murder had not occurred a few hours earlier, but rather mere minutes. Why didn’t I sense her?
The body on the floor groaned, and she saw that his eyes were wide open staring behind her—full of terror and fear of death. His mouth formed silent words, but he broadcasted his thoughts unknowingly-runrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrun.
And then he whispered, “Save yourself, marshala
, save yourself.”
A memory—a strong memory translated the word—freezing her into place. The vision—no not a vision—a remembrance of longing and despair seemed paralyzing, and Mara Jade knew it was too late—nothing could save her now.
Her danger sense warned her—and had she been thinking clearly the former assassin would have had no trouble dispatching her assailant. But the term of endearment that had just been bestowed upon her had shocked the trader to the core, depriving her of the moments she needed to defend herself.
She felt a dull pain—and nothing more.
“No, Sir. She’s not awake yet.” Creak.Whsh. Whsh. Whsh.
“Have you slept at all Ghent?.” Shh.
The last whisper of noise, the sound of the medward door opening and closing forced Mara to wrench open her eyes to blinding overhead lights. For a moment she struggled against closing her eyes again, sucking in some much needed air. Medward?
Exhaling suddenly she sat up and found herself hit by a sudden wave of nausea and dizziness, and automatically closed her eyes again. Reaching out with the Force she took a catalogue of her injuries, realizing quickly that the only part of her body that hurt—besides her pride—was a low thrumming at the base of her skull. Mara?
She groaned. Of course he would be the first to be aware of her situation. Luckily it appeared, he was not anywhere nearby. Mara Jade was free of any Skywalker gloating for the time being. Silent, her eyes still closed, she sent out an annoyed wave of reassurance, then gingerly steadied herself before reaching to feel the bandaging covering her head.
The room she lay in was empty---yet she recognized it as being an auxiliary room in the medward on the Wilde Karrde.
Luckily she was still dressed in one of her jumpsuits of choice, and slowly swung her legs around, testing first one foot then the other to see if they would hold her weight. It took a moment to ascertain that they would, and another second to disconnect herself from the IV. Taking very small steps she slowly made her way to the door to the room and slapped the control. Creak.
There was a brief moment of déjà vu when she saw Ghent sitting in the hallway in a similar position to how he had been after another head injury found Mara on Coruscant in the Imperial Palace’s medward. It felt like eons ago—but in that instance it was almost like no time at all had passed.Marshala.
She started suddenly, and the loud exhalation-–not to say that the loud opening of the door brought the computer slicer, forever doomed to keep watch on patients, out of his reverie.
“Ghent—What...“ A rustle to her right, paused Mara’s question.
“You’re awake.” Faughn rose from a cot on the side of the room—and before she stood she clicked on her comm—“Boss--she’s up.”
Still disoriented, Mara frowned, trying to maintain a façade of control. “Will someone please tell me what is going on?”
Ghent and Faughn exchanged glances, the younger woman taking a step forward to urge Mara to sit down. “The captain said he’d be down in a minute to explain.” Marshala.
Startled again, Mara jerked her elbow away, gracelessly falling into the chair provided. Her breath hitched for a moment and she reached out to steady her nerves.
Moments later, Karrde strode into the center a cautious expression on his face. Smoothing his goatee, he pulled another chair over to face his second-in-command. He glanced at the others. “Faughn, I need you to go supervise the work in the auxiliary bay—take Ghent with you.”
Mara didn’t even wait for the door to slide shut, she didn’t say anything just narrowed her green eyes expectantly.
“Someone hit you over the head.” His lips twitched into a wry smile that belied none of the anger that exuded from his posture. Karrde never liked it when one of his crew got injured. He valued them too much.
“I could figure that out on my own. I remember seeing the crate, walking up to the office and seeing a dead—almost dead body. Next thing I know I’m flat on my back on your ship.” A fleeting thought hit Mara—recognizing that the Wilde Karrde
was in hyperspace—“If we’ve jumped to lightspeed....where’s”
Talon interrupted her gently, “The Fire’s
fine. We had to leave Nintali Station, so I had to let Faughn pilot her up. There’s not a scratch.”
Mara kept her face expressionless, but some of the tension in her shoulders disappeared. “So? What happened?”
Karrde grimaced, “Skywalker happened. After you left, he commed back—to make sure you weren’t left alone. By the time we had Faughn and Ghent turn around and go back to the warehouse...” He shrugged his shoulders, “They found you in the office, on the floor, no sign of a struggle—just you and a dead man.” His eyes shifted a moment before he continued, “Now If I were you I wouldn’t get angry with Master Skywalker—you were bleeding out and if we hadn’t shown up right after the attack....” He stopped as he saw the expression on her face, and leaned back in his chair expectantly. Shavit. Farmboy.
Mara banished the semi-pleasant feeling in her chest, changing the subject. “The security forces don’t think that I...”
“Nope, they have the assailant, a woman, on camera. It’s obvious that you just were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Mara nodded, “So what now?”
Karrde chuckled softly, “You rest. We’re headed back to the Core—or at the very least on to the Errant Venture
where you can get your injury more properly looked after. Then we’ll resume our schedule—and you’ll resume your duties whenever the doctor clears you. I’ve been told by our medic that you should have a full recovery. Everything should be back to normal in no time at all.”
Mara looked down at her hands, lying limply in her lap. “Alright. I do need to talk to you about the next leg anyway. We seem to be having trouble with....” She heard herself talking, heard Karrde order her back into bed, in fact he practically dragged her back, and as she drifted off to sleep the whisper, a feeling of frightened and heady cold washed over her. Marshala.