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ghosts [M]

Discussion in 'The Calamity' started by Jaesa Willsaam, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    Content Warning

    CALAMITY PHASE 1
    @Anakin Skywalker




    After so many weeks in a stone cell, the plasteel floor of her ship felt almost unfamiliar to Jaesa as she sat in the captain's seat in the bridge, reaching out through the Force towards the first person she could think of to talk to. Because she needed to speak to someone. She'd been alone for so long, kept in isolation for months with the only occasional company being Mairon and tormented captives, captives she'd finally given in and made to scream. She had had no real company for so long, and who else could she turn to? Wolfgang had left her. Perrin had turned his back on her. In all the months since she'd left Pandora Town, she had seen only one person aside from her former master.

    And it was that person she reached for, finding him finally after a difficult, awkward search. She wasn't accustomed to contacting people through the Force. But she managed to find him, seeming to appear in the room with him, thin and exhausted, pale and drawn. When she opened her mouth, it took a few moments for her to speak. It had been a month since she'd spoken to anyone who wasn't Mairon.

    "...Anakin?"


     
    #1 Jaesa Willsaam, Sep 8, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018 at 11:56 PM
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  2. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    Something was happening to the world, and it was never in his blood to sit and wait for events to inflict their will upon him. When all communications to the below were cut off, the clocks flickering in an uneasy static between 23:59 and 0:00, Anakin had every intention to fly down with nothing but the Force to find and see what was to be done for it.

    All his ship's means of collecting data and mapping systems had shorted out with the rest. Not the most ideal circumstances for a flight, but he supposed he'd seen worse. Elysium would be fine without him.

    As he set about preparing what he could for departure, the hairs on the back of his neck lifted- as if there wasn't already enough to make his senses tingle and twitch with protest. He turned sharply, and paused to stare.

    Bad timing, he bit back, steeling the evident surprise away from his features into his usual neutral: neither warm nor cool, but attentive enough. "Where are you, Jaesa?

    She looked worse than the last time he'd seen her.

     
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  3. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    She couldn't summon the energy to care much about what seemed to be happening in the world. In a camp as devoid of technology as Mairon's, she'd not realised anything was wrong with the time until she'd reached her ship. Something was going on. She didn't know what, and she couldn't bring herself to care. Not at that moment. The only thing she cared about right then was just... not being alone any more.

    "Silverwood," she said slowly. There was a feeling of reluctance to give her location, something left over from her time with Mairon. A feeling of dread that if he found out she'd said anything about her location - even vaguely - then the people she cared about would be in danger. It took her mind a moment to catch up and remember that he was gone. She was free. "I found my ship. I'm on it now." It had taken some searching. After so long in isolation, some facets of her memory had suffered, and it had taken a long time of stumbling through the forest before she'd managed to reach her ship, still looming above the treeline where she'd left it in June.


     
    #3 Jaesa Willsaam, Sep 8, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
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  4. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    It went without saying that she couldn't have contacted him now, of all times, for smalltalk. His unspoken questions lingered in his eyes for a curious moment, before he released them with a breath. Whatever tied her to that cell was gone now; it needn't be more complicated than that. "What's happening around you?" He turned away, only so that he could begin to activate the systems necessary for launch. "I have no information of the status on land. I can only... feel..." His brows creased. He stopped himself before saying something as tepid and overworn as a disturbance in the Force. It was more than that. Something was wrong.

    "I can come to you."

     
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  5. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    At his question, Jaesa shifted her eyes and her awareness away from him and his surroundings back to her own, gaze flickering out of the wide viewport at the front of the bridge that stretched from wall to wall. The hologram of the galaxy in the centre of the room in front of her chair glowed with its bright blue-white light, but beyond it and through the viewport she could see a storm brewing. And then her eyes flicked down to the control panels ahead of her, many of buttons and screens of which were dark.

    "A storm's coming," she said, returning her focus to Anakin and his surroundings. "And there was a quake earlier, when I... when I left." Left seemed like such a simple word, but it was a nicer word than 'escaped'. Not that there'd been anything to keep her in that camp. The moment Mairon had disappeared, dragged away by vines, his forces had gone into disarray, orcs in a panic that was only worsened by the quake that struck moments later. There'd been little resistance to Jaesa leaving the area, and what resistance there had been had been left broken and bloodied on the ground behind her.

    "A few of the systems on my ship have been cut," she added. "All mapping systems are down and the clocks have been acting up." Flickering between 23:59 and 00:00 before just simply shorting out completely.

    There was an odd sense of relief that seemed to rush through her with his last words. "I can meet you if that's easier." She wasn't in a good state, but she could fly. She could always fly, so she thought. She'd managed to pilot the ship while badly wounded once. She just... She needed company after what she'd endured. Even one as lacking in any kind of personal warmth as Anakin. Solitude was simply the last thing she needed.


     
    #5 Jaesa Willsaam, Sep 9, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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  6. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    "Is your offline navigation functional?" It'd be a rough estimation, incomplete, and sloppy compared to the usual systems, but it was still better than a complete absence of directional aid. The Force could only help with so much before it became the equivalent of flying on purely blind faith, when they were tens of thousands of miles away. By the looks of her alone, he had little faith in her ability to meet him on the station this way.

    He scanned what remained of his operational systems for a flat plane, the data distorted and fragmented with artifacts, but functional enough. His eyes settled on somewhere on the edges of the Elysium fields (coincidental name), near the last cluster of farms before the grasses faded off into endless desert sands.

    Mulling over his choices, Anakin braced forward with his hands splayed against the console. A place like that was, theoretically, safer from the hazards of groundquakes and storms than the heart of a town. He could land there, reevaluate his options, and possibly regroup with... Jaesa. An odd turn of events, after all this time-- he could pick up where they last left off, wherever that may have been. Perhaps her abrupt reappearance could have been considered suspect. He trusted no one by default, so it was all the same to him, and there was an instinct within him that would rather have a Force user on hand than any random aid who could blast fireballs out of their mouths. "We'll meet here," he started, reciting off the coordinates he'd centered on his holoscreen, repeating them for good measure. Given a starship's capabilities, it should not have been far from her. She had a head start and plenty of time to take it slow. "I'll find you there in two, maybe three hours."

    When his gaze traveled back to her image, something that could've been mistaken for clumsy, thoughtful hints of concern twitched his lips into a frown. "Eat something before you fly."

     
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  7. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    A frown touched her features and she slipped from the captain's chair to one of the two pilots' seats closer to the viewport, fingers moving across the control panel. Information flickered to life, nothing quite so accurate as what she needed, but it would do simply to avoid flying blind. "Just," she answered, feeling almost grateful for the distraction. It was easier not to think about what she'd been through when she was focusing on her ship.

    Not trusting her own memory to commit the coordinates right then, Jaesa inputted them as soon as he mentioned them, waiting the few moments for the clumsy offline systems to work them out and centre on a clear, flat area of the plains near the edge of the desert. If there were to be more quakes then it was as good a location as any. Just a flat expanse of grass, with no buildings and no trees.

    She simply nodded in answer to confirm that she had heard and understood, too exhausted to waste words where they weren't needed. As she was about to close off their connection through the Force, however, she was surprised by his last words, or more accurately, the expression behind them. Something that from anyone else she would have called concern, which was surprising paired with his suggestion that she eat. She blinked, expression briefly pained, unsure quite what to make of even this vague show of concern.

    There was a moment of silence, and then she closed off their connection, her view of him and his surroundings fading and leaving her alone once again in her ship, surrounded by nothing but lights and the soft whirring of the vessel's mechanisms and systems. For the first time, Jaesa desperately wished Seetoo were there, but she had not found the droid in her search of the ship. She was forced to the conclusion that he had left the ship, possibly to undertake maintenance on the exterior, or possibly even in an attempt to search for her, and most likely been stolen. He would have been easy to steal. Steward droids had nothing at all in the way of defence capabilities. Either way, he seemed to have gone, and even his absence had been a hard blow. It just felt like one more thing walking out of her life.

    Before long, the ship was in the air, cruising south-east towards the coordinates Anakin had given her. Despite his suggestion, she had not eaten. She had tried, but her appetite had not returned with her master's disappearance. She'd eaten little over the past three months, her figure now thin rather than its previous lean. She hadn't slept much either, the effects visible in how shadowed and dull her eyes were. It made piloting the ship difficult, but the relatively short distance proved a boon.

    Landing the ship was the most difficult part, and she arrived there well ahead of Anakin, the flat expanse of the plains empty of any other ship. Her Corvette landed with a clumsy heaviness that would have shamed her if she'd been in any better state, but made her wince even now. She left the ship, seating herself on the entry ramp with her knees pulled tightly to her chest and arms wrapped around them, her eyes flickering restlessly this way and that as she waited anxiously, as though afraid this would all have been an elaborate trick and her master would appear to drag her away and punish her for even thinking she could ever get away from him.


     
    #7 Jaesa Willsaam, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  8. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    The sky was darker than it had any right to be, a canvas of grim violet splashed with orange reminiscent of a dying flame. He kept his unease at bay even as his viewports broke away from the stars and into the foreboding box world. This was more than anything he had learned to expect from Pandora, though he felt he should have known better. The walls and ceilings themselves had more cracks running along its fathomless expanse than he remembered, as he maneuvered his starship by. The Force sending echoes of warning in the form of tingles along the back of his spine, it was like the whole blasted place was about to give.

    Good, the bitter and jaded old man within him couldn't help but feel. But until it was for certain, which nothing was, he didn't have it in him to sit idly.

    He touched his Courier onto the grass with the usual practiced ease, stepping down from the ramp with Bee Tee rolling all but jubilantly behind him with the engines still humming idly in the ship. "Stay," he commanded the droid. BT-1 was built for assassinations and to be a freak of nature unto those he was targeted against, but the astromech components were still all there. He'd been... reprogrammed... not to be as murderous, though there was nothing to be done about the hardwired sadism... The point was that he was functionally an astromech and Anakin felt comfortable enough to leave him behind, take control of the piloting if need be.

    So he turned his eyes to Jaesa huddled there on her own ramp, feeling a stirring of what might have been pity. Maybe. He was still stuck in the excruciatingly slow process of remembering how to welcome these kinder emotions back into his heart, without immediately quashing them by impulse.

    "Did you eat?" he asked, his footfalls stopping besides her as his gaze shifted again to the turbulent skies. Something about the air seemed to roil, and even then it would worsen from there.

     
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  9. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    There was a palpable sense of relief that rippled through her when the other ship finally landed near her own, and Anakin disembarked. She didn't even realise until she let out a soft breath that she had been genuinely fearing a trick or another game and that there would be no ship, no Anakin. Just her master. Former (again) master.

    Seated near the top of her ship's ramp as she was, she was positioned above Anakin as he approached, her hooded and flat gaze flicking down to him as he came to stop next to the ramp, noticing some flicker of an emotion within him that she didn't recall ever sensing from him before. Something that from him was so strange and small, a feeble little guttering of a candle, that she couldn't even pinpoint exactly what it was. Something a little warmer than she was accustomed to, she could tell that much.

    "No," she answered simply. There was no point oversharing, explaining that she'd prepared food and managed only a single bite because even despite her barely eating, she had no appetite. No... desire... to do something even so base and simple and necessary as eat.

    She followed his gaze up to the sky, which didn't look like the right colour for midnight at all, if that was even what time it was. The systems on her ship had flickered between 23:59 and 00:00 but they could have been doing that for weeks. Months. She had no idea what time it was, and not even any inkling of just how long it had been since she'd made the stupid decision - one of many - that had led to her going into Mairon's camp. It felt like a long time. Perhaps it felt like longer than it had been. In that cell, she'd lost all concept of time except for glancing at the sky on the occasions that her master would take her out to the other prisoners so that she could gather whether it was day or night.

    Right then, looking up at the sky above, she was having trouble gathering if it was dawn or dusk. And there was something... unusual in the air, something that prickled at her through the Force. A disturbance, her old masters in the Order would have called it, but she was past such cliche remarks. Something was very amiss though, far beyond what might have been suggested by the earlier earthquake.

    "How... how long have things been like this?" she asked, with a vague gesture at the sky and around them in an attempt at gesticulating at the Force and the feeling of wrongness that he no doubt felt too. The words felt awkward on her tongue. A simple remark that nonetheless told him that the situation he had seen her in weeks ago had not abated until earlier that day.


     
    #9 Jaesa Willsaam, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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  10. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    Even up close, he detected no signs of any struggle in her escape from that place. She had escaped, hadn't she? At face value it seemed at odds with everything he heard about her 'Master'. If this were a game of his, then Anakin saw no meaning to it even in his understanding of cruelty. Either he had abandoned her or vanished after all, which not even self-proclaimed gods were spared from. And the world was changing into something else, he could feel it, cloying and thick.

    His gaze traveled back down to the top of her head, when he heard her answer. There it was again: the pricklings of an irrational and unwarranted frustration that were audible in his exhalation. Another dim rumbling from the direction of the desert managed to stall his focus from that, snapping his attention there with candid, blue eyes narrowing in thought.

    "All communications were severed twenty-three, maybe twenty-four hours ago." Did that answer her question? Before then, he assumed everything was operating normally. After this, whatever this was, he supposed to could see if Rey or Ben were faring any better. Instinct told him it would've made little difference, and his best option was to monitor the situation from a safer vantage point above the thunderclouds, and waiting until more information could be ascertained.

    Just what he hated doing.

    "Eat," he said, already helping himself to the interior of her Corvette to see what sad attempt preparing food she might've made. It'd been a while since he stepped foot inside, but he knew his way well enough to find the quickest path to the kitchen area. "Something larger than what either of us have faced is stirring. You'll need all the energy you can get to push through it."

     
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  11. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    There had been those who had attempted to turn her escape into a struggle. Many of her master’s orcs had been frantic, terrified of whatever was going on in the world, too distracted to do anything about their Lord’s prize slipping away. Others, who had either been made of sterner stuff or were more terrified of Sauron’s displeasure when he returned than any earthquake, had tried to stop her.

    Their attempts hadn’t lasted long.

    Her brow furrowed at Anakin’s answer. Twenty-four hours ago? Had her cell really impeded her sense of passing time that much? Or maybe she just hadn’t cared what was going on at all until her master had disappeared in front of her eyes.

    Jaesa’s frown only deepened when he told her to eat, already passing her on the ramp and heading straight into her ship. Blinking in some surprise, she got to her feet - slower and more shakily than she would have liked - and followed him, noticing that he was going straight to the galley. As though he were checking up on her. He spoke a claim that she needed energy to deal with whatever was happening, but there seemed to be something else behind his cool tones. Something that from anyone else she might have suggested were traces of concern. A laughable thought.

    On a table was the barely touched plate of food she’d prepared. Most of the fresh groceries she’d kept onboard had gone bad, suggesting that Seetoo had been missing for some time, but she’d still had packets of dehydrated meals. The one she’d prepared on the table had clearly barely been touched.

    She sat in front of the plate, taking a perfunctory and small forkful and chewing slowly, a faint look of distaste wrinkling between her eyes. It tasted like ashes, and she doubted it was due to the admittedly questionable quality.

    "Do you have any theories?" she asked, spearing another piece of food onto her fork but making no move to eat it. "If this was a normal planet I’d consider destabilisation of the core or something, but who even knows if this box has a core."
     
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  12. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    Too restless or too much of something else to slide into the seat opposite her, Anakin stepped up to the galley viewport and peered out into the flatlands beyond. The sky was still that enigmatic haze of violet. On any other world he wouldn't have paid second thought to it—maybe the atmosphere simply reflected light that way, or there was some other negligible element in the air. But they never changed gradients out of nowhere. Not in any way that boded well for days to come.

    "None," he admitted, his right hand curling and uncurling slowly at his side, his left hand absentmindedly meeting it to bring it to a still. His lips opened again after a pause. He had more farcical speculation than theories, though by the standards of this place he supposed that whittled down to little more than semantics. "Pandora comes from a mythos with a pantheon of gods—" He'd even been jostled into an affair with one of them, he recalled with a lingering edge of bitterness. "It is... conjecture, that they, the unseen ones, are behind our being here. Are in control of who comes and goes. And now they've decided to shake things up."

    He trailed off as he spied another change, brows furrowing together as his neck craned for a better look. The web-like cracks he'd passed by on his return, they were expanding.

    He could see them rupturing across the tumultuous skies like horizontal lightning bolts.

    But before there was time for more conjecture, more farcical speculation, a thin trail of smoke lit up from the distance. Bright flares, like stars, traveled up its length before succumbing to an arching trajectory, in a sequence of three.

    "That's an emergency signal," he observed, glancing back at his companion with a thin frown ghosting over his lips upon surveying her meal progress.

     
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  13. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    She was a little disappointed that he had no theories, nothing for her to cling her focus and thoughts on so she had no room for anything else. She ate the next mouthful waiting for her on the fork with a mechanical air that would have put her droid to shame, before eyeing Anakin as he spoke of gods and pantheons.

    Jaesa had heard those beliefs, too, that Pandora was nothing but a petri dish for the Machiavellian schemes and experiments of a bunch of deranged gods. She might have disbelieved it, if not for her own experiences with the divine. Her own Master, her first lover, was - had been? Was he truly gone? - a divine figure, some kind of deity that had been involved in the creation of his own world. She knew, then, that it was not a farfetched idea, to think that gods had created Pandora and were behind the arrivals, the disappearances, and the general chaos.

    "They've shaken things up before, but not like this," she said quietly. Pandora was always being shaken around. Streets constantly shifting in Pandora Town, with nary a report of any injuries or deaths linked to the impossibly instantaneous restructuring. Entire areas of the world disappearing and appearing, and reshaping, with none of the expected consequences. "Why are they being so destructive now, with no warning or reason?"

    There was something dispassionate on her face as she too looked out of the viewport, dark eyes shifting onto the cracks that darted, widening, across the sky. She should have been worried about the destruction around them, but she wasn't. If anything, she held only a desire to be swallowed by it.

    Which would be far more likely if they were closer to all of the mess.

    And so, when the flares arced gracefully through the air, Jaesa put down her fork after only those two mouthfuls, ignoring the frown that touched Anakin's expression. "Whose ship are we taking?" Hers was fast; the Defender-class Corvette had been one of the best starships in the Republic's fleet, and certainly the best of the Order's ships. But she wouldn't have been surprised if his was even better.
     
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  14. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    This was the part where the responsible, cautious member of their party would have warned them off barreling into the unknown before understanding what was taking place. That person didn't exist, and if they did, it wouldn't make a difference either way.

    It didn't take him long to decide. Stepping away from the viewport, he was already on the move with retracing his steps to disembark. "Both. Now's not the time to leave anything behind — we don't know what will happen." Wasn't that the fun of it? Anakin still couldn't wrap his mind around that word; all he knew that loitering by as the hodgepodge dimension underwent catastrophic metamorphosis around them was out of the question, and Jaesa seemed to agree.

    Lingering by the exit of the galley for a heartbeat in time, he cast a final glance at the barely touched meal before continuing, with some semblance of conviction, down the corridor and across the stretch of grass leading him back to his own ship.

    ---

    High up in the atmosphere, the damage was clear before they even reached the source of the signals. Dunes and dunes of sand had slipped into a stretch of grassland, where there was once evidence of farmland. They passed a heap of bovine creatures half buried in the overflowing desert, some of them clamoring for escape while others were slowly and lifelessly swept away by the strange current.

    Then, in the middle of the madness, a raised hill high enough to escape the flow, if not only barely. By his estimation, there was enough of mound flat and secure enough to support both ships. The minuscule, people-shaped dots waving their arms at them didn't escape him either.

    Apparently this was a rescue now, he thought listlessly, making one decision after the other without paying much consideration to the meaning of any of it.

    He moved to descend, expecting that Jaesa would likely follow. If not only because there was nothing else to be done.

     
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  15. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    Both. Right. That made sense. But she couldn't deny the next little shiver of disappointment. She didn't want to be alone again, even if she knew he'd be flying in tandem with her. Just the thought of being in that ship by herself after those long, long months locked away from the outside world filled her with a cold dread.

    But what was she going to do? Ask him to stay with her? Like a child afraid of the dark at night? No. So she just nodded silently, tipping her food into the trash, and followed him out of the galley, parting ways on the deck just before she passed onto the bridge and took her place in front of the flight controls.


    They flew towards the distress signals, the destruction far below them clear to Jaesa's eyes as she focused on the flight, ignoring everything else, like the dread and the fear left over from her master, the discomfort at being on her own again, and the physical aches, pains and nausea that held fast from months of isolation.

    As Jaesa too noticed the people frantically waving far below on the hill, desperate for rescue for the sand that flowed almost like water around them, she knew that she should have cared more about them and their safety, and about going to rescue them. She would have before, she knew. But she was less bothered right then about saving those people than she was about just having something to do, and about getting closer to the chaos where she might actually feel something more than the cold deadness inside.

    Pulling the ship into a sharp dive, Jaesa carefully landed, the manoeuvre tricky to pull off as the ground below let out an agonised groan and trembled ominously, toppling whatever trees around that had survived the onset of the desert. One look through the bridge's wide viewport told her that this was not going to be a simple rescue. The sky out towards the rest of the desert was a dark, thick orange instead of the violet everywhere else, the horizon completely gone as a wall of sand seemed to sweep across the desert in a wide path of destruction, as on the edge of hearing, there was an ominous, almost pained howl.
     
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  16. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    There was no dread after he landed, the air thick with a bitter and salty taste that even slight breaths of air sent particles directly directly into his lungs. Even after he stepped into the final spot of refuge that would soon be swallowed up by that sand tsunami. Sand tsunami. This was apocalyptically worse than the annoyance of the Dune Sea of Tatooine, if he wanted to be rational.

    "This must be what the people of Alderaan saw. With snow and rock, instead of sand." Arguably better off for it. He was not quite addressing Jaesa when he spotted her arrive, but canted his head toward her in an odd greeting all the same. There were sounds of children screaming and crying as they clutched their blankets and keened out the name of what he assumed to be a family pet. There was a tired woman corralling them, a distant reminder of his own mother, up the ramp of his ship.

    It occurred to him that he should assist her, but he knew in his bones that he was no good with the especially young ones. Not anymore. The least he could do, then, was outstretch a hand at the flurry of sand whipping over the mound like a blizzard, and make it still.

    ... There were somehow still more of them than he thought there'd be, almost inexplicably and inanely. Once and again he thought he saw the face of a padawan he once slaughtered scurrying by, and shrugged it off. And then there were some especially stupid ones gawking over the mound, watching as the sand crept up. He assumed Jaesa would assist with those.

     
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  17. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    Jaesa had lived in the Dune Sea of Tatooine herself for three years, in which she'd seen many a sandstorm. But even there, in the hostile reaches of the desert where few had dared to tread, she'd never seen anything quite as terrifying as the tsunami of sand that was bearing down on them.

    Or at least... she knew she should have been terrified. But all she could really feel was a sense of thrill that finally cut through the emptiness.

    Initially, she thought nothing on what Anakin was saying as she made her way down to the ramp onto the hill, where a very tired maternal figure was attempting to control distraught children. But then she heard a familiar name. Alderaan. Her homeworld, the one she had been forced to forsake when Nomen Karr had swept her away. It took several moments for the implications of Anakin's words to sink in, but she still didn't understand. And nor was she given chance to.

    The sand tsunami was almost upon them, the swirling orange specks around them now that tugged at clothing and stuck in eyes and hair, merely a herald of the destruction to come. Part of Jaesa wanted to just stand there and let it sweep her away, and perhaps that suicidal longing would have been evident on her face as her dark gaze swept out to look at the oncoming torrent of ruination and death.

    But something, some unwanted survival instinct, spurred her forward, noticing instead the children that were also watching the approaching wall of sand for - she assumed - much more innocent reasons. The woman crying for them to move, to get onto the pair of ships that sat open and ready for them was not succeeding in her attempts to tear them away from the spectacle.

    Eyes colder than they would have been a few months ago fell onto the reluctant children, and a moment later, the group of them was lifted bodily, squirming and yelping, into the air by apparently nothing and practically tossed through the open doorway into Anakin's ship with the rest of the refugees as she took matters into her own hands, where they landed in a pile and scampered further into the vessel after their elders.
     
    #17 Jaesa Willsaam, Dec 14, 2018 at 11:38 PM
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018 at 11:46 PM
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  18. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    "Bee-Tee, take it from there!" he barked out soon as the last of the little ones were shoved up the ramp. "Activate launch!"

    And BT-1, with none of the inspiring personal loyalty of, say, R2-D2, gleefully wheeled himself up and followed the command to the letter. The ramp closed ahead of him, the airtight mechanisms sealing shut even as the persistent sands peppered the hull.

    He didn't wait for the final hiss of the airlock before turning back to Jaesa with a shrug of his shoulders. "Decided I'd rather not to spend the next few hours around that," Anakin explained, hints of a long dead blitheness resurfacing in his voice. Something about the vast dreariness of the world's end that made him oddly less grim. The world could be grim for him. And from his point of view, this was all actually refreshingly new.

    Or perhaps he felt that this was a good of an end as any—for all they knew they had sent those children off to just a different, slightly more delayed death. As the ship blazed away over their heads, out of the reach of that wall of sand, he supposed the ones carried high up there at least had better odds than they did.

    And even despite going through the motions of that impromptu rescue, he decided he still didn't care either way.

    He had the good grace to darken his expression again, his gaze traveling back to that ever-ominous horizon as the horizon itself approached. "You feel it too, don't you? It's not just here. Everywhere is beginning to die." How fast was her corvette, he thought to ask, as the stark shadow of that sand tsunami (he would never get over that) blanketed their little hill. "I'd say we have three, five minutes?" he estimated wryly, instead.

     
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  19. Jaesa Willsaam

    Jaesa Willsaam Star Wars

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    Anakin's ship departed, leaving the two of them there alone, on that hill, in the shadow of the approaching wall of sand bearing down on them. She didn't look at him, instead just watching that wall of destruction sweeping towards them.

    Perhaps her ship was fast enough to outpace it. She knew from experience how fast sand storms moved, how it could seem one moment like you had enough time to get away, only to be swallowed the next. On Tatooine, they'd been a nuisance more than anything when prepared for them, when you actually lived around them. This was something else entirely.

    She nodded at his words. She could feel it through the Force, a disturbance as her old master would have said. The faint feeling of distant death, of threads of life being cut off at such a vast rate as she had never known before. Everything was dying. It was unlikely there would be any survivors. Even if she and Anakin managed to outpace this storm, they would just die somewhere else, by some other means.

    And this seemed like a nicely dramatic way to go, suitably so to bring some colour and excitement back to her life even just for the last few minutes.

    Turning back to her ship, Jaesa headed up the ramp, stopping at the top and looking down at her companion. "We don't have enough time," she said, and she couldn't summon the grief or grimness that should have been there in those words, in the vocalisation that they were going to die. After everything she'd gone through, she couldn't bring herself to be bothered. "But I'm not going to try and fail to escape, or sit and wait, either."

    She left those words, and the implication of what decision she'd come to, hanging in the air as she disappeared onto her ship, heading to the bridge. Whether Anakin followed her on this reckless decision, or waited for death to take, was up to him. She just knew that for once, after all the times she'd been controlled and manipulated and used and led along by people in her life, from the Organas, to Karr, to Yonlach, to Mairon… she was taking control of her own fate, for once in her life.
     
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  20. Anakin Skywalker

    Anakin Skywalker Star Wars

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    He took the subtext of her words with a blink. It should have and did seem like the hallmarks of an impulse decision. Most should have craved for more time to deliberate and think--this was all happening too quickly for any such judgment to be considered wise and sound.

    But it was the best they had out of a miserable lot. For the first time since the sky began to crack, there was a twitch of a smirk on his lips as he made to follow after the implications rapidly sank in. "Color me impressed," Anakin said, and it was the likely first time he paid her compliment without some equal parts backhanded meaning. That it had to happen in this context likely also didn't do him any favors.

    There wasn't any need to wait for that end to consume him, passively. The spite that kept him alive for all those years had dwindled, but there was still enough of it left in his bones to spurn the very thought of sitting on his thumbs, when there was something immediately better.

    On the bridge, it suited him just as well to watch Jaesa work her nerves into the controls. The ground beneath them dropped away, the sand swallowing up the hill that briefly sheltered them in one final wave. He had his arms crossed over his chest as he memorized the details of that massive crest, blotting out the entire space like a behemoth. His thoughts drew idly back to reports of the destruction of Scarif those long few years ago. He imagined Scarif was more impressive, but now was no time to look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Then introspection always had to surface in the final moments, the irritating notions that he could have done better for Luke, and Ahsoka, and all those rest. Even Jaesa. Where would she be, if he simply cared more? More of the same? Frankly it wouldn't surprise him--but as he considered the thought a little more, his arms unfolded as the cabin around them shook to the increasingly turbulent ride.

    He laid his hand over hers which controlled the yoke, the one that steered them toward oblivion. He said nothing for it, and his eyes were still on the view, his touch imposing no influence but a light yet resolute reinforcement. They were past the point of consolation.

     
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