|They Are Primatives
Author: ardavenport PM
The leaders of an isolated moon deal with a Jedi invasion and rescue attempt. Obi-Wan amd Qui-Gon mission.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Drama - Qui-Gon J. & Obi-Wan K. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 10,145 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Published: 09-03-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4518055
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
THEY ARE PRIMITIVES - Part 5
"Tras, what are you doing to me?" Orliss now cast a nervous glance behind him and up at their Jedi guests.
"How could I possibly arrange this when I was stuck in there with you and them?" She looked proudly at her ranks of Guardians. "But I wish I'd thought of it."
A huge crowd had assembled before them. Neat rows of defenders and Guardian. Many were Guardians in pale green and blue tunics and shoulder cloaks. They formed an empty corridor that stretched across the floor to the great open doors. The yellow outside light shone beyond them.
A few people coughed and there was the muffled sound of shifting bodies. Orliss swallowed his grimace and advanced. Behind him the Jedi folded their arms before them, their hands disappearing into the opposite sleeves of their robes, and marched behind him. Traskyuler came behind them.
Obi-Wan lowered his head, but kept his eyes forward. He didn't remember most of them. The 'Guardians', as Orliss had named them during his long narration, were the traditional enforcers on this moon. They were picked from children submitted by their families to the Guardians, and trained for a lifetime of service to their moon. As Guardians, they were sworn to be poor in material wealth, but they would always be respected and they would belong to an order that would support them. And with Guardian training and status they would always be able to defend themselves. They trained from young children to be expert in all physical martial arts.
Obi-Wan noticed that several of them in the front lines had bandaged injuries. Noble as they were, they did not have the Force with them and he and his Master had cut through their ranks with relative ease. All of their metal hand weapons were slow compared to the blaster fire, rockets, energy beams and other technological weapons that the Jedi normally needed to defend themselves against.
Next to his Padawan, Qui-Gon Jinn observed the Guardians as well as they moved forward. One young woman in pale green silently cried as she stood at attention, her hand going to her mouth as she fought for control. Others wore rigid and tearful expressions, the discipline of their lives holding them in place. Many looked to the Dwen behind them. They bowed to her, carefully not lowering their heads until the Jedi were nearly past them.
Qui-Gon recognized one older male, his hair a straight steel gray, cut evenly at the base of his skull. Qui-Gon had seen him giving orders and immediately afterwards the Guardians' attacks had focused on the hilts of their lightsabers, obviously trying to disarm them. It was a sound tactic, but their efforts were too slow. And it was painfully obvious to Qui-Gon that the man had never directed a battle with energy weapons before and the errors he had made had cost his own troops in crossfire and ricochets. Qui-Gon was absolutely certain that he and Obi-Wan had not directly inflicted any deaths
The man stood in the front, near the open door and his eyes bored into Qui-Gon as they passed. The Jedi glanced his way, nothing more. Qui-Gon sensed that the man knew that he had made mistakes that had cost the lives of his own people. Qui-Gon could do nothing for him.
The Hold entrance overlooked a large, open, tree-lined plaza. A murmur went through the scattered people there when they saw Orliss and Traskyuler emerge, and then louder, more fearful exclamations when they saw the Jedi just behind them. A quarter of the blue sky above was dominated by the moon's primary, a huge, golden gas giant. The sun shone behind the fortress they were leaving but they shadows they stood in were golden from the glow of the planet.
Orliss raised his hands as he stepped forward to the top of the stairs. He had a strong commanding voice and the people seemed to lean toward him as he spoke of his own failings in the deaths of the negotiators, that the Jedi (he paused at the word, introducing them) had only come to rescue them, that they were noble Guardians of many worlds who had fought well and honorably, and would be allowed to leave. They heard some sounds of disapproval, but Orliss seemed to know his audience and he appealed to their rise to civilization, how they knew now that they were better than the Ithnun Lords and that only their actions would prove this. There was one awkward moment when he stopped and backed up to Qui-Gon.
"What are your names?"
"Qui-Gon Jinn." He gestured to his Padawan. "Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Orliss nodded and repeated the pronunciation of their names flawlessly to the crowd. Qui-Gon found the speech over-dramatic but Orliss's audience responded to him. He even got some cheers from the people closest to them. Qui-Gon sighed impatiently and then stopped himself as he noticed Obi-Wan's glowing expression toward Orliss. The Jedi Master wondered if he wasn't a bit too cynical about this man's ideals.
The Leader started down the stairs with Traskyuler at his side and without looking back at them, he waved his hand forward. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon followed close behind. The rest of the party from inside stayed at the top of the stairs. People backed away as they descended. But at the bottom of the stairs Orliss stopped, turned and looked up at Qui-Gon.
"We could still put together a quick banquet. In your honor." Qui-Gon didn't give him any reaction to this statement. "But I expect you want to just go," he finished.
"That would be best," Qui-Gon responded. Orliss looked back up at him uncertainly.
"And how did you two get here?" he asked. Traskyuler took a step closer, clearly interested in this information.
"We came down from the cliffs," Qui-Gon answered simply. Orliss stared back. Traskyuler looked alarmed.
"The...cliffs?" Orliss's hand pointed back toward the Hold, with the mountain and shear rock face behind it, towering over the whole city. Qui-Gon nodded.
"And...you're just going to...climb back up?"
"We had planned on it." Qui-Gon looked about the tree-lined plaza. "But if you can clear this area, that won't be necessary." He gestured at the people hanging back from them. It took a few seconds for this request to sink in. He turned to Traskyuler.
"Well, Tras. Get this area cleared," he ordered. Looking a bit unhappy, she went back up the stairs. A minute later she returned with a column of Guardians that spread out in an expanding circle, urging people back as they went. Qui-Gon took out his comlink and contacted the astro-droid on their ship.
After a few minutes they heard a growing rumble and the whine of a spaceship engine. The people around the cleared plaza looked about nervously until one man shouted and pointed upward.
Slowly, the Jedi starfighter descended to the ground from above, piloted by their astromech, R5. It was a basic two-seat craft, the absolute minimum they had needed to get to and from their mission. Another ship would have been called from orbit if the ambassadors had been rescued. The people backed away from the rush of warm air generated under antigrav lifters. They stared in awe as the landing gear locked into place and the spaceship settled on the ground. Then the engines shut down, and only the echo of their roar remained.
A few people coughed. And then someone laughed.
They had concealed their ship high in the craggy cliffs above in a flat area where only creatures of flight could get to. And they had obviously been there today. The entire upper surface of the ship was splattered with their droppings, white and brown in the yellow planet-light.
A fat, flightless fledgling flapped it's half grown wings at them from where it clung to the forward canopy. It snapped a dark and wickedly pointed beak at the spectators. R5 beeped at it from it's flight socket at the base of one rear wing of the ship.
"There's a reason why people don't go up there," Orliss muttered to Traskyuler who smirked back at the Jedi.
"Wwwhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzz!!" the angry fledgling squawked at them. Everyone looked at each other, not sure what to do. A few small children in the crowd pointed and made bird sounds back at it. It was young, but it still could do some damage with it's beak and claws. Some Guardians looked to Traskyuler for guidance and she nodded to them. They left.
Qui-Gon laid a hand on Orliss's shoulder and he looked up at the Jedi curiously. Qui-Gon inclined his head and slowly approached the ship. The young bird was half as large as Qui-Gon and looked quite unhappy.
"Oh, he can't..." Traskyuler said disgustedly to a smiling Obi-Wan as the tall human Jedi lightly jumped up onto the wing of the ship opposite the R5 unit. One hand raised, he slowly approached and spoke softly to the animal. It watched with wary orange eyes.
"Wwwhhaa-whhaaa-whaaaaawww." It bobbed it's head before it allowed the hand to pet it's downy brown head. Then it raised it's open beak and hooted as if it expected Qui-Gon to feed it. He laughed softly and began to nudge it off the ship. At the base of the stairs Obi-Wan noticed the murmurs of wonder and approval from the people around them. Orliss obviously noticed it, too.
The bird plopped down to the ground and then waddled next to Qui-Gon after he'd jumped down next to it. Two Guardians with ropes came running up and then stopped at the sight of the large fledgling squawking and hooting contentedly next to the Jedi. They hesitated until Traskyuler herself went to them, took the rope and then went to the bird.
"Be gentle with her. She's had a difficult day," Qui-Gon said down to Traskyuler, who looked like she would prefer to strangle the animal, or Qui-Gon. She slipped a loop of rope around it's neck and, with Qui-Gon's urging, nudged it toward the waiting Guardians. They guided it away.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan both bowed to Traskyuler, and then to Orliss, who cautiously returned the gesture. Obi-Wan hopped up onto the ship to the forward pilot's seat. Qui-Gon followed, but instead of getting in, he reached down into the rear compartment. He rummaged about, taking some things out and putting others back before rising again. Then he climbed back down, his Padawan's gaze following him curiously. Qui-Gon returned to Orliss who stared up at him.
"This is more of the bacta that we used on your injuries. You should have no trouble using it, if you apply it the same way we did on your burns." Wide-eyed, Orliss accepted the strap of the gray plastic case that Qui-Gon haded to him. "And while I have no authority to negotiate, I can say that the ambassadors that you accidentally killed, "Orliss grimaced, "were not just trade negotiators. The Ithnun also wish to petition for membership in the Republic. They were rejected out of hand because of the embargo of knowledge and space technology that the Ithnum hold over the other moons of this system. This sort of governance is considered unstable and unlawful in the Republic." Qui-Gon held out his hand, a small, flat round device in his palm. "If any members of Republic wish to contact you directly, they would use this." Orliss carefully took the gold and silver holoprojector, holding it carefully as if it were a delicate piece of art.
Qui-Gon folded his arms into the sleeves of his robe. "The Ithnun are apparently...difficult to deal with. Others may indeed wish to bypass them entirely and speak with you directly." Orliss and Traskyuler continued to stare at the holoprojector. "Or they may not," Qui-Gon warned. Orliss hastily looked up.
"Yes," he accepted. "I understand." His face became serious. Qui-Gon bowed and backed up to the ship. He climbed up on it, trying not to touch the animal droppings with his hands and climbed down into the rear seat. The engines started up and the canopy began to close as soon as he sat down. R5 chirped and bleeped, clearly happy to be leaving.
Qui-Gon scanned the pre-flight list glowing on his screen as he buckled on the safety restraints. All of Obi-Wan's start-up commands mirrored on his instruments as well. They could each fly the ship, but Qui-Gon usually let Obi-Wan handle the piloting. He put his headset on and glanced to either side, noting that the noise had driven the crowd back to a safe distance. They slowly lifted off, rising up into the sky under the golden planet, getting nearly up to the height of the cliffs before Obi-Wan engaged the main engines. They were out of the atmosphere, black, starry space above them, in seconds.
"Master?" Obi-Wan's voice came back to him through the com from the forward seat.
"Was it wise to give them that holo-com? As you said, they are primitives."
"No. It probably was not wise to give it to them." He smiled. Their ship arced into a higher orbit to meet the cruiser they had arrived with. "But I think it was honorable."
An assistant opened the door for Dwen Traskyuler into Leader Orliss's private office high up in the Hold. She carried a large, covered tray and the assistant closed the door behind her. Traskyuler looked up from the volume he wrote in with his personal ink-pen. The narrow windows let in the yellow, outside light, enough to work by without calling on the over-taxed generators.
"Complements of the cooks." She laid the tray down and then removed the woven cover. There were crispy sweets on the side and a bowl of stewed roots and greens. And in the center plate, garnished with flowers and tender, baby fern leaves, were succulent slices of young maku-chick meat.
"Oooooh, that looks good." Orliss reached for the empty plates and paddles and served generous portions for each of them. The Jedi had left several days ago, but they had not butchered the animal that had roosted on their craft until that morning, after they had fed it a proper diet of grain and vegetable scraps.
The Hold had resumed it's normal schedule. The damage costs were high. The Council was arguing about how to replace everything, but it wasn't any more fractious than usual. The medicines and bandages that the Jedi had given them had helped a great deal and there was considerable talk about how they would obtain more. Orliss cast his eyes toward the small device on a little pedestal on his desk. But it had remained silent though there was always someone in the office, night and day, to watch it.
"Hofhem was very unhappy about our dinner here," Traskyuler told him over the remains of their meal.
Orliss groaned. The elder Guardian had a near fanatical devotion to his animals. Traskyuler grinned.
"I only had to remind him once about the last time he tried to raise one of these things." They both chuckled over the chaos and destruction that was much funnier years afterward than it had been at the time.
"What was that?" Traskyuler sat up looking about.
"What?" Orliss asked, chewing a bite of roots.
They both turned to the small, round device that Qui-Gon Jinn had given to Orliss, sitting on the desk in it's place of honor. A faint, bluish form glowed over it. It was a tiny little transparent being; it wore floor-length robes and was fairly portly in the body. It's hairless head tapered back into two long, hairless tails that fell down on it's back.
It cleared it's small throat before asking, "Am I addressing the Leader Orliss, of the Rathinun?"
– FIN –
(first posted on tf.n - 7-Feb-2006)
Disclaimer: All characters and situations belong to George and Lucasfilm; I'm just playing in their sandbox.