The revised and expanded version, now with added punctuation marks. Oh, and the rest of the segment finished and added on.
Not much to add on the subject of publication, except to say that however much I might wish it were so, we represent a small slice of the fanbase without much clout, and it's extremely unlikely.
The official captain's quarters were buried in the bowels of the accommodation block, a strange design decision indeed and one it really took a Kuati to come up with; Lennart used them less than once a year- literally, for an annual Commissioning Day party that they had been too busy to celebrate once.
He was seriously considering converting the space to something else more useful, because the only other purpose it had was as VIP guest quarters, and he had had quite enough of those for a while.
It had been given a quick search by the cleanup crew after the event, as the last significant occupant had been Kor Alric; for a whole afternoon before he had decided the Imperial suite was more to his taste, but he had left nothing behind except a foul smell.
The place had been, in the interim, sanitised. It was still physically in the wrong spot. There was too much crew berthing directly adjacent, and for the status- conscious Empire, and the almost as bad old Republic, giving the plebs the chance to see the captain in his underwear was just not on.
Lennart couldn't really disapprove of that in principle- and after a seconds' thought, it was probably one of the changes the local builders had made to the Kuat design- but he certainly could in practise; it was too far away from the bridge.
Still, at the moment, here it was, and it was where Aleph-3 and her team escorted Rafaella Lennart.
She could sense her father's presence- then the door slid open, and there he was in the flesh. He was taller than his daughter, leaner and darker-coloured, but they were obviously family- she took more strongly after her mother but there was a definite resemblance, a kinship. Aleph-3 certainly hoped so.
Jorian wasted no time; looked her up and down, said 'You remind me of your mother' and hugged her, as hard as he could. Aleph-3 was instantly jealous- I wish he hugged me like that more often, she thought. 'Come in.'
Rafaella- and the squad- did. A picture-hung, otherwise light walled reception room- atrium, really- with couches around a water feature with an abstract sculpture in, that he had always meant to replace with a deactivated battle droid in a ballet arabesque pose.
The young archaeologist looked around baffled; this wasn't at all what she was expecting. The fact that she had expectations- that she had some idea of what to expect- aid a lot to her father.
'It's not really me,' Lennart said, much more breezily than he felt- Aleph-3 reacted badly at first, then grasped the scheme. Good. 'I have a hammock in a closet off the bridge, this place only really gets used as guest quarters, and I intend to put you up here until something else starts to make more sense.
Although that may be around the time I become a great- grandfather. I met your fiance; he's lucky he's a pre-existing fact in your life, because I was strongly tempted to have him fed to something, possibly a drill instructor.
I'll introduce you to such else of the family remain unarrested when there's time, speaking of which, hm, in a moment for that too, remind me to talk to the chief about that. Why archaeology?'
He's not babbling, Rafaella realised. He can bounce from thought to thought like that- and there wee curves of structure protruding, of meshes of ideas- in control, with clarity, at a speed that makes him look as if he's grasshoppering, but he isn't- wait, what? Plarch? Where is he? I wonder what my father would approve of in a son-in-law?
'Because I was looking for a past, I think.' she said. 'Your sister Alrika showed me the alliance's file on you- it told me what happened, but not what, hm, happened.'
'I was told about that, too. She precipitated herself into the hands of a being I know to be a very deft manipulator, and would not trust as far as I could throw our new secondary powerplant. It is going to take some doing, to make that situation end well.
Your young...entity, on the other hand, is doing ninety days in the Kor Vella Correctional Academy for Hopeless Space Numpties. He tried to get in touch by short-circuiting every safety on a spacehopper and telling it to get him to me as fast as possible. Survival was not part of the plan.
He tried to commit kamikaze, and I let the local law deal with him, as a safer alternative to taking him in myself- because then I would have had to have him shot. He couldn't have picked a worse way to introduce himself to a navigating officer. I presume that there was something you saw in him?' Lennart asked.
That was a poser. Not because there wasn't an answer, but- space, there wasn't. She had, oh, no. Well, opposites did, had attracted, and he could be witty when he put his mind to it, and he had the courage of his convictions, and he might be an introvert but there was a lot of him under the shell.
What had just loomed up in front of her was the notion that in view of her force sensitivity, a much nastier explanation suddenly made sense. He really wasn't hero material; could be said to be a bit of a mouse actually.
Had she deliberately picked a weak one because she did have a touch of the dark side? Someone meek and mild that she could mould, impress on, malform and mistreat, a chew toy?
It wasn't like that, she wanted to scream, but who to, herself? Her man was better than that, he was- well, cruelly, he was an absent-minded daydreamer with no instinct at all to reach out, who might never have had a sexual experience if it wasn't for her.
And her father, sitting opposite her now, was a decorated and acknowledged warrior- hero with standards far higher than poor Plarch could ever hope to meet, and the dark side explanation had clearly occurred to him too.
Yet she did not want to give in to that explanation, did not want to fold and collapse before it. She temporised, parrying/defending with 'You don't think he's good enough?'
She was actually quite surprised when her father chose to avoid a head on clash by saying 'Stranger things have happened. Your mother and I, for instance.'
The truth was, Jorian Lennart did think that. With reservations, of course; the kid had at least tried to rob a bank, had hauled himself across half the galaxy searching for a being who may or may not still exist, had found his family at least- screwing up and blundering through every step of the way, but he had achieved something.
The seeds were there. Would take a lot of effort to make grow, and he was nowhere near good enough at the moment, but- for an idle second Lennart senior let himself wander over his own crew, wondering how many potential bank robbers it contained- how many teams he could raise on short notice.
Obviously not everybody, but most of the senior petty officers at least. How many of them would be better potential sons in law? Same answer. Hm. In the interests of honesty he admitted it. 'Although I will say that he's going to need a lot of work done on him to bring him up to spec.'
There were obvious things to say in response to that, but they were so cliched and teenage- sounding that she decided to avoid them. Especially as he might be right. 'Was it thus with you and my mother?'
'More like like charges repelling.' He jumped a step ahead of her in turn. 'Why our respective authorities didn't dump us both in padded cells, preferably on opposite sides of the galaxy, passes understanding now.
We met oh, two, three months after Geonosis, she was a final- stage padawan then and I think her master looked on me as one of her trials. Which she would have failed if, well.
'You may find this hard to believe,' he understated, aware that Aleph-3 and the rest of the team were hanging on every word, 'but then I was an ultramontane, a flag-tattooed-on-the-forehead Republic patriot; with all the fervour of a recent convert, worse yet one who does scent something subtly wrong about his own cause, and shouts all the louder to keep the suspicions away.
I suppose that deep down I was never really all that sold on it, but it was a useful public face, and it sort of became cemented in place as a result of both our positions being pushed to extremes by the arguments we blundered into.
The Jedi Order is a closed, sealed and highly touchy subject these days, so naturally you went looking for whatever you could find about them?' Lennart asked his daughter.
'I, we, ah- no.' Rafaella admitted. 'There were enough ancient traces of them that the Empire couldn't eliminate, there were clues that resisted eradication. Up until, until it really mattered, we could find everything we needed from the past.'
Lennart sighed. 'That would be the sound of your mother. I was in my early turning to mid twenties, she was late teens scrambling after a tradition that like to pretend it was a million years old.
I was already predisposed against them, although in hindsight it might have been worse if they really had done what they were capable of. Certainly would have, for me. Operationally, I'm not sure there was much in it.
I wish the politics really were ancient history, but they're not, nowhere near safely dead and buried yet, if anything ever is- which I presume you're going to tell me it isn't. The point is that we more or less totally failed to get on, after the first couple of weeks.
There was, there definitely was something there; perhaps I am flattering myself, but there's living proof now. That was a thread that was increasingly buried under the way things went, what we were doing, what they thought they were about. The easiest way I can describe it- how hard did you have to cram for exams?'
Rafaella looked slightly perplexed, but Aleph-3 nodded. She knew what he meant. 'Continuous high intensity operations, for someone who hasn't been there that's the next best description I can think of.
Much worse, of course. Your life, and the lives of your friends, may be riding on this- and yours on their success; you have no guarantee, none, that what you're doing is actually going to help, and no idea when the actual test will be, a month, a day, five seconds. No second chance, either- sometimes not a first chance.
You work till you're ready to drop, as many hours a day as you can cram in and stay sane, and sometimes not that, everyone else who gives a damn pushing themselves too, some falling apart, some becoming so burnt out they cease to care, everyone worn, tired, frightened, biting at each other-
and then after the blinding barrage of paper from behind, there are the official enemy, who have been putting themselves through the wringer too, and whoever has managed to think and train and work and practise the best and whose head is still on vaguely straight at least has the ascendancy, not that it always works out that way.
Sometimes you screw up and live through it, and you have no time to mourn, you're too busy trying to make do without the ones that didn't make it and break in a new batch of fresh bodies, and watch them go through the same.
Now add a pair of smugly self-centred, indifferent, tactically illiterate force users into the mix and watch what happens. It was like inviting the hophead dropouts round for a spice party in the middle of a study session.'
Rafaella had never done anything like that, would never be able to do anything remotely like that- and was starting to imagine what an odd pair her mother and father would have made.
Opposites must have attracted, indeed; she hadn't even thought about it in those terms, but as a Jedi, her mother Altara would have been one of the galaxy's supreme rule followers and enforcers; her father, well, if the Alliance file was true had a pretty spectacular past as a rulebreaker.
Although there had to have been a thread of the opposite in both of them. She must have been at least a little bit of a rogue, or wished for it and wondered what it was like; Jorian's conversion to ultra- what had lain behind that?
What gave a being faith, political faith, and what caused them to lose it? There were answers to that, frequently devised by those in the politics business; but from the ultra- long view that she aspired to, and- she was shocked to find the point of identity- that her mother had aspired to, it was basically a compound of fear and greed.
Rafaella settled on the idea that he hadn't really changed at all, it was a cynical and ironic act; Aleph-3, who knew him rather better, decided it had been a conscious choice to step aside from taking juvenile potshots at the republic he actually knew, to fight for the republic he wanted to believe in.
The stormtrooper had a rather better idea of what 'prolonged, high intensity operations' meant than the student, and knew that no-one dives headlong into deep war the way his record said he had- as she had seen him do- without some kind of cause, and few come out well at all, without that cause, that touchstone in the midst of chaos. It mattered less what it was than that it was there.
He looked at the pair of them, judged their reactions, and whether he was genuinely reading minds or just guessing neither would have cared to say, but he frowned at his daughter, grinned at his "complication", before going on.
'This is why Black Prince's crew are such lunatics, incidentally, and why the basic training that may still be in your boyfriend's future is the way it is; because functioning under such circumstances is a corroding, inhumanising business anyway.
The human mind will be broken by it; better to get that out of the way in controlled circumstances, where what's left can be arranged into a form that can do what the service demands, and won't get itself and its' comrades physically killed as well. Repair and reconstruction can come afterwards, once the need is done.
My crew, my extended military family, are as human as I can afford to let them be under such pressure; and by time and tempering, they have come closer to being used to this, more rational in the face of it than I would have thought possible, twenty-five years ago-
...and some of the stranger incidents are really no more than should be expected from letting an almost-normal sense of humour and ethics play with the tools of Armageddon. Still, that's now.
'Then, we were basically pulling in different directions, with different ideas of what war was about and this particular one was for, and I had somehow become ship's fixer- because I knew more or less what I was doing, was mostly functional most of the time, I was taking up as much as I could of the slack for those who didn't. And, as I said, ultramontane.
Looking back on it, it wasn't, no, it was that bad but not on purpose; she was in an awkward position, and she was trying to help, much more than I- no, I knew that at the time, but it was never the right time and never the right way.
Her boss was much worse, but she was stuck between us, trying to be a proper jedi by the standards of a being who, I cannot reconstruct his thinking; he really did seem to believe that if he pretended hard enough nothing had changed and that there was still peace on, then all the shooting would go away.
He couldn't really have been that stupid, not and remain functional. Which, well. What I think he was trying to do was set a moral example, of the sort of personal standards we needed to hold on to. Although a more awesomely inappropriate time to do so or standard to try for would be hard to find.
I abused my position, I admit it now, to trivialise them; drafting ops plans that gave them nothing to do, or sent them far out into the margins. He noticed, and insofar as he let anything show at all, I think he was ashamed of being glad of it.'
Aleph-3 opened her mouth with a question hovering on the tip of her tongue, but decided not to ask. Jedi and Clones were alike in that, personalities that came readied and reinforced for the pounding he was describing, but what had made the authorities so sure that he was?
She had looked up the eight thousand and fifty-ninth assault support group he had belonged to, found that it was one of the first non-clone units to be given new- construction ships, had an outstanding record of victories and losses.
Jedi- and clones- were ready, perhaps too ready, to die in the line of duty. They had been contemptuous of the nocs, the non-clones, for that, but really, what else could they have said? Oh yeah, we're artificial, too dumb to care, no sense of self preservation, doesn't matter if we go squish?
One of their personal anchors had been pride; they were clones, but clones of human beings, and pride had led many a macho young idiot to war- and if fortune too was with them, through. A lot of clonetroopers had kept their equilibrium by being too proud to admit to themselves they were throwaway, disposable items.
The 8059th had been a good outfit for human, better than some clone groups and most of the regulars for combat success, but far above the curve when it came to not dying.
What was the peroration she had heard from one of her first commanding officers, back in the few weeks she had been in service before Coruscant? "Indifferent troops can win battles, if there are enough of them and casualties do not matter; but I expect you, as first class soldiers, to defeat the enemy without yourselves suffering unduly. To this end you must use all your wits..."
That summed up the 8059th rather well, in fact; they didn't win all the time, but they had a remarkable ability to sidestep disaster, and succeed at tolerable cost, and most of the wits that made it possible must have been Lennart's. Altara would have homed in on that.
Aleph-3 actually felt envious of her, this twenty-three years dead jedi; and embarrassed, that the same thoughts hadn't, that it had taken so long for the same to occur to her.
Too many separate people, too many masks; too many parts played, too purely as parts. As the simple- disposable- soldier she had tried to return to being, she had ignored what her cover identities were telling her about the organism, the man, she answered to.
She had been drawn to him, and like a disposable thing, had done nothing with that other than try to use it. Badly, at that. Stress, fear, inexperience, kinks in the head- dangerous to assume that someone is acting intelligently and effectively in their own interests, or can do so, all the time.
She certainly hadn't. Had tried to do anything other than play ice maiden, build a protective shell around herself- damnation, she knew the man, knew his quality; but still had played stupid, white- skulled games, hadn't tried to reach out at all.
Then again, he hadn't tried to reach down to her, partly- only partly- by the standards he held himself to, but- listening to this a light burst in on her. As an anarchist, and an elitist- causally, likely the other way around- who would he aim for? Obviously, searingly obviously, someone difficult, someone against the rules.
He had been hung up for a long time on the actual, prima facie impossibility of it- and my relationship with him didn't come off the back burner until I reported him as a sensitive and tried to get him killed, Aleph-3 thought. I had half the answer, being against the rules, but until then I wasn't trouble.
Although the mechanics of that had evidently escaped the man himself, as he went on. 'She was the one who took up the cudgels on his behalf. we- as the mode we fell into started to set around us, the stances we took up hardened, the arguments began.
I accused them of being essentially indifferent to the republic qua republic, to them it was just the order's milk cow; she accused me of being an arrogant egocentric, little better than a separatist myself.
She called me a frothing maniac, who had got so used to this I was actually enjoying myself; probably actually true now, of course, but not then. I called them sterile wastes of flesh, oxygen thieves who understood nothing, proud of their learned blindness, a tactical and political appendix.
The harder he tried to rise above it, be serene and tranquil, the more he tended to prove my point. Why she didn't cut my face off is the real question. Before you start feeling sorry for him, remember the jedi way; mission justifies.
Knight Senemit was essentially a pacifist and as far as he could be a peacemaker, guilty that peacemaking had failed, and overcame his guilt- or indulged it- by holding his own life cheaply. The risks he wanted to take and the uses he wanted to put the group to- he would have been content to die doing his duty.
Which is acceptable- no, endurable- for a platoon commander, the rank he was just about competent to hold, but not for a fleet general officer. He would have got us all killed if I had let him have his way.
'Altara knew that, and she knew I knew she knew. She had a damned bad starting position to defend, and she did her best for it. Although there were limits. She could have legal-jitsu'd me into what could have amounted to an admission of cowardice, for instance.
Did manage to get me to admit that I wasn't nearly as much of a patriot as I was pretending to be, and that I was actually trying to stop her getting killed. Somewhere in there amongst the shouting.
Although yes, there were times when we both went too far. We were both young, and asked to carry far more responsibility than was really healthy for us, and our coping techniques were worlds apart. We couldn't really be there for each other; tried as often as we dared, sometimes helped, usually failed, occasionally made things worse.
If the rebel alliance file told you we had a love- hate relationship, a lot of the time the hate was real, too. Then there were moments such as my calling her a young fogey, desperate to avoid the terrible burden and misery of having to be free.
She snapped back at me that I had no right to talk, started giving me chapter and verse on my own life, the official version at least; I called her on it, and that was the first time I saw her blush- after I accused her of caring.'
She must have known, Rafaella thought, must have been aware that he was a sensitive; and she also must have been slightly afraid of him. She didn't tell him, if this armoured redhead could be believed- why?
Because he was better off not knowing? Because she, too, then, had been a pacifist and a peacemaker, and had feared the warrior in him? So used to it, she had said to him and he had recounted to them as though he was proud of it, that he was actually enjoying himself; little better than a separatist- and that perhaps meant dark sider.
Rafaella herself was far from sure whether she was a pacifist or not; without bloody mayhem, her field of study would be terribly boring, they had joked, but it was the sort of joke they used to keep the horrors away. She certainly wasn't afraid to raise arms in her own defence, but...but the Jedi had been killers too, she could suddenly hear him thinking.
In her brain or in her blood? Was there really a difference? What there was was an enormous complex tangle of thoughts and feelings behind that, echoes of gut instinct at war with rational argument at war with conscience and imagination, that even if she could pick through, not now.
Wasn't he right, though? The Jedi had been a monastic order, not an assassin's guild- but their political purpose, when you came right down to it, was precise, controlled, intimate violence exercised by individually unstoppable warriors on behalf of the Republic. It was not the vocation they wanted for themselves, but it was the role the state had found for them.
Bloody murder was in them, and their cultivated, ingrained pacifism was a defence against themselves, against what they might each and individually become if they ever ceased to detach themselves from that fact, and instead embrace it.
Rafaella could hear her mother and father having that argument, could hear the ground ripping open under Altara's feet and the abyss yawning before her as he laid out reason after reason that would have been the stuff of nightmares for a well-educated pacifist.
In galactic distance and time, her mother was probably right, but there and then, with live and active evil before them? Although they must have recognised some sympathy in each other, some sense to be had on the other side; they both cared, although in such desperately, dreadfully different ways.
'We parted for a time not long after that,' Jorian said, 'and not in the best way- Senemit's death wish finally came good. She had won the latest round of our endless argument, we had been talking about detachment, errors of omission.
I had got a notification that two of my academy classmates had been killed, one in a particularly messy way when the separatists had boarded her ship and resorted to biobombing the crew. It was at a bad time, and I had the jitters- worse than usual.
I recall asking her what the difference was between Jedi detachment and standard squishy-groundpounder "don't mean nuthin'", and getting the answer that I don't believe she meant entirely, but was good to hear- that the surface flowing bubbles and ripples on the river of Life are not the whole story.
There is a deep, flowing positive, and the losses and miseries of the day are not the cosmic all, just what has to be endured, and can be endured and overcome, if you simply let the currents of life take you.
Normally I would have ripped into her for such mushy mystic no-horizons bullcrap, or she would have ripped into me for meekly accepting such, but right then I really wasn't up to it. Or up to stopping her boss, when he wanted to dive them headlong into harms' way.
'It was basically a smash and grab, our associated 2808th assault group were going in to take a poorly shielded mainworld, Kermadec IV, with a separatist seed base before it could get too big. The Jedi plan was to sabotage the planetary defence guns and arrest the base commander- on their own.
I had set a plan that made no allowances for them whatsoever, which was just as well. The assault group staged a textbook meteoric assisted assault, the support group fought off separatist reinforcements in an extended- system rolling battle that I was quite proud of at the time.
The shock troop found them holed up in a dead end corridor low in the base's structure behind a barricade of broken droids, he was draped over the rear surface and would have been killed by that alone if, well. She was crouching there, apparently catatonic.
I had to go down there myself and call her back to her senses, I said that this could give us material for so, so many future arguments- but just this once, I was prepared to let it ride.
The temple called her home, after that, sent a special transport. They didn't like leaving solitary Jedi scattered across the galaxy, not where normal people could talk to them- or they could start talking to themselves.
I missed her; life was much quieter and duller without her around, and I did think, after the war if there was an afterwards, maybe...it was only much later, in the third phase of the war, that we got back in touch.'
He paused for breath and thought, stood up, walked to the water feature and splashed some over his face, shook it off, sat down beside them again. 'I had been bumped up and out from a frigate group to a full task force, and this was a point in the war where were rapidly running out of jedi.
I'd already worked with another master and padawan pair, seen the padawan die in a diversionary raid that achieved nothing, seen the master die thinking he could take hundred to one odds in a fighter. I preferred working without them, and was surprised when she turned up, a knight in her own right with a padawan in tow.
It took us, oh, a whole twenty minutes to fall back into the same pattern, long rambling, occasionally screaming, arguments about the nature of life and the shape of the universe, the colour of the sky and the price of cheese- anything and everything.
We'd both changed, though, older, deeper dyed in blood, hardened- and both mortally unwilling to admit how much we had actually taken, gained, from each other. I think I did acquire a measure of detachment and serenity from her that...helped.
She had thrown herself into her military studies, the whys and whithers of it all, how war and politics flow together and each makes the other. We had a lot to talk about. Still argued, though.
'As our senior resident wibblemonger, she was a distinct improvement, and she enjoyed watching me find ever more elaborate ways of not admitting it- managed not to treat the task force like an afterthought, actually consciously thought about what her gifts were good for and what she could do.
We did it, fell into the pattern of doing it, backwards; of attacking each other about the things and thoughts we liked, of praising with noisy damns; funny thing, for someone supposedly with foresight, I was better at guessing where the enemy were going to strike next.
Of course, the war and the enemy and just rattling round the galaxy threw us plenty of curveballs, plenty of awkward situations to adapt to; the baby dragon thing would have been quite funny if it hadn't eaten her quarters, and nearly her apprentice. Even with the Force, she could never prove that I had put it there.
'This was the mobile phase, remember the current version, subject to revisionism, is that the chaotic scramble after Geonosis was followed by a period of the sides shaking themselves out, people deciding where they stood and both sides trying to organise themselves, with a lot of small scale hit and run work with what standing forces there were.
Then we have the first mobile phase, the ping-pong stage of the war, huge rolling, sprawling battles as both sides tried to cut down enough of the other's mobile force to win room to fight, to actually make any kind of strategic gain; that slid into the outer rim sieges, as the Republic fleet started to gain the edge, and carve enough clear space to actually prosecute anything.
That turned into the second mobile or desperation phase, as the Separatists tried to use what was left of their battle fleet to prod the Republic, throw it back on the defensive, deep lancing strikes for primarily political effect. Second Coruscant being the one everyone remembers, of course, those of us who lived through it.
Altara and I sometimes managed to go whole days without giving each other heartburn; too much to do. Fifty hours a day wouldn't have been enough, not to do what needed to be done and think of everything that needed to be thought of.
What was genuinely happening to her- I don't know, I still do not know and every time I try to reimagine it I feel layers of actual truth boiling off and being replaced by wishful thinking.
'In what would have been the high summer of year 15, three things happened in quick succession. I tried to break in, get through her detachment indirectly by introducing her to a friend I had made. Local Defence Force officer, decorated hero in fact, a combat surgeon.
I wanted to get her to search his feelings, show her how on one level attachment, even abstract attachment, can be a powerful force for the positive; what a militant pacifist, determined to do good, looked like on the inside.
On another level, half- agree with her, that detachment was of some use, Doc Hackett- yes, nominative determinism in action- really was starting to lose the plot, and that a meeting would do both of them good. That there was a proper balance between attachment and detachment, and it was nowhere near where she thought it was, it was a difficult, creative, dynamic tension.
It was probably a half- baked idea anyway, and a stepping stone to the argument I wanted to have with her about positive and negative attachments and lesser evils; I didn't say that of course, but she knew, and I knew she knew.
They ended up talking to each other, spending a long time talking, and I don't know what she got out of it but I'd bet it involved a metaphorical boot up the backside. She came away looking genuinely shocked.
'Then her own padawan died. He was a typical jedi child soldier, old enough to kill but not old enough to stop playing with dolls. He might have had a personality; wasn't around long enough to tell.
He charged forward to the top of a sandy ridge, too carried away to notice the scout/FO team with him weren't daft enough to follow. Skylined himself, raised his sabre to blocking position, and a smartarse droideka nailed him, put one bolt of a twin-blaster either side of his lightsabre- straight through his eyeballs.
Once there were no more gung-ho idiots in the predicted blast pattern, we pasted the droid division with LTL fire from orbit. He held up the war for maybe twenty seconds, if that.
She lost a lot of her faith in the Order with him, in what they had been doing and in what they had let themselves become. I had a hundred arguments ready, but as soon as I saw her step off the transport I knew that wasn't the time for them. On the other hand, it was the night that you were conceived.'
Rafaella took that fairly well, all things considered. It had been obvious for some time now that her mother and father had not exactly had a conventional relationship, and it could have been much worse.
'I tried not to take advantage,' he continued, 'but I knew that if it was going to happen at any point it would be then, it was electric about her; she needed someone to hold her, someone to pour it all out to, and it would turn into more than that.
Yes, I wanted it, but at that moment, in that state? As a thing of desperate mercy, a huddling together against the dark? That was the way she would have it be, though.
I don't actually remember saying anything at all, she just jumped on me, and I am pretty certain that you started out on top of the main plotting table of the light destroyer Veritable.' Lennart told his daughter; grinned, couldn't help it.
'I had hoped it would happen, hadn't dared to expect it, I had thought there would be a better time, a celebration of light; but the dam had burst, and I think she wanted a high point there in the slough of despond, a beacon defying the worst of things.
We were only really together as, as an us, for a very little time, barely enough to figure out half of what we were doing, most of the how, and not nearly enough of the what next. Spent quite a lot of it yelling at each other, as usual.
I had no idea she wanted to leap ahead to reproduction, and to be honest if she'd asked I would have said it was too soon, the galaxy was still on fire and neither of us were out of it yet, but I think she guessed that was what I would have said, and decided to pre-emptively ignore me. I'm glad she did.
'The Order hauled her back into the fold again, and the last I saw of her was boarding the transport; she was assigned to Coruscant home fleet, which was often done with Jedi the Order felt were losing their faith, and where they were punished by being forced to listen to the little green troll.
We weren't supposed to keep in touch, did anyway through mutual contacts until...well. I have no clear memory of what I did when I was told she was gone, but it was good for my shipmates that there was a handy Lucrehulk full of droids for me to take it out on.
What she meant to happen next, I don't know. What we would actually have done is even harder to tell, I thought the Republic and the Order would be massively changed by the war but I didn't expect them to be gone outright.
Acknowledging you as mine and the child of a force user, at the height of the purges? It would have been deadly dangerous then, not going to be particularly easy now, but if it was easy it wouldn't be true to Altara and I. There's a lot we'll have to make up as we go along.'